In Switzerland, 17.7% of the population drank alcohol to an extent that is risky for health in 2017, whether chronically or episodically on certain occasions (binge drinking). The percentage of men (22.5%) was considerably higher than that of women (13.0%). Overall, heavy alcohol consumption has increased since 2007. Large differences can also be observed between people of different ages and different levels of education: people with a tertiary education and younger people consume alcohol more often at a risky level.

This indicator is part of the Monitoring System Addiction and NCD (MonAM) of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Two forms of increased alcohol consumption are associated with a health risk: firstly, chronically excessive amounts of alcohol over a longer period of time (chronic heavy alcohol consumption) and secondly, episodic excessive consumption on certain occasions (episodic heavy alcohol consumption), also called binge drinking. Chronic heavy alcohol consumption is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease, certain cancers, brain haemorrhages, diseases of the digestive tract, severe depression and epilepsy. Episodic heavy alcohol consumption can involve accidents, injuries, violence, damage to property and increased risk of suicide.

This indicator shows the proportion of the population showing signs of at least one of the two heavy alcohol consumption behaviours. It thus provides a view of the prevalence of all heavy alcohol consumption in the Swiss population.

The magnitude of heavy alcohol consumption is relevant with regard to the prevention of addictive diseases.


This indicator was calculated on the basis of data from the Swiss Health Survey (SHS).

It indicates the proportion of the population aged 15 and older living in a private household who show signs of either chronic or episodic heavy alcohol consumption, or both.

Chronic heavy alcohol consumption is said to occur with an average daily alcohol consumption according to the following limits: medium risk for women at 20g to 40g of pure alcohol, i.e., 2 to 4 standard glasses, for men at 40g to 60g, i.e., 4 to 6 standard glasses*; high health risk for women at over 40g, i.e., over 4 standard glasses, for men at over 60g, i.e., more than 6 standard glasses. The average alcohol consumption in grammes per day is included in the AGRAMTAG index and is based on a combination of questions from the Swiss Health Survey on the consumption of beer, wine, cider, spirits and alcopops in the 12 months prior to the interview (frequency and amount). 

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  • Orientierungshilfe zum Alkoholkonsum – 2018 (Juni 2018). Eidgenössische  Kommission für Alkoholfragen (EKAL), Bern: Factsheet.

Further information

  • Gmel, G. et al. (2017). Suchtmonitoring Schweiz - Konsum von Alkohol, Tabak und illegalen Drogen in der Schweiz im Jahr 2016. Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland, Lausanne: Study.
  • Kuendig, H. (2010). Estimation du nombre de personnes alcoolo-dépendantes dans la population helvétique. Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland, Lausanne: Report (French with German overview).
  • Marthaler, M. (2013). Risiken für alkoholbedingte Krankheiten und Mortalität, Grundlagen für eine Orientierungshilfe zum risikoarmen Alkoholkonsum. Addiction Monitoring in Switzerland, Lausanne: Study.

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