No reception without sparkling wine, no folk festival without beer and no dignified meal without wine.

The consumption of alcohol is ritual, socially accepted and cultivated.

However, the new edition of the alcohol atlas for Germany that was published a few days ago shows the consequences of the broad acceptance of alcohol.

16 percent of adult men and 11 percent of adult women regularly drink such large quantities that it is anything but healthy.

They don't get drunk obviously, but they regularly have too much alcohol in their blood.

Four percent of men and 1.5 percent of women even drink so much alcohol that they also have serious problems in their private and social environment and run the risk of getting into conflict with the law because of their alcohol consumption: They abuse alcohol.

4.8 percent of men and 1,

9 percent of women are addicted to alcohol with all the social and health consequences that such an addiction entails.

This means that a significant proportion of the adult population in Germany has a serious problem with alcohol.

The Alcohol Atlas, published by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), also shows that 20,000 new cancer cases and 8,000 cancer-related deaths are attributable to alcohol consumption every year.

Alcohol is a cytotoxin and damages the genome.

The mutations that occur can be the starting point for cancer.

This makes the substance the most important modifiable risk factor alongside nicotine and obesity.

Alcohol promotes cancer in all organs with which it comes into direct contact.

These are the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and esophagus as well as the large intestine, rectum and liver.

The risk of breast cancer also increases.

Colon cancer is the most common alcohol-related cancer in men and breast cancer in women.

There is no safe amount

The atlas also emphasizes that, contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a safe amount when it comes to alcohol consumption.

Every glass is a glass too many.

Alcohol is involved in the development of more than 200 diseases.

This includes cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, alcohol-related inflammation of the stomach and pancreas, and damage to the brain and nervous system.

The positive effect that a glass of wine has on some heart conditions is offset by the increased risk of the other alcohol-related diseases.

The message that one or two glasses a day is good for your health is just a myth — despite advocacy claims to the contrary.

The alcohol atlas also contains good news.

The amount of alcoholic beverages consumed in Germany has been falling for years.

In 1996, 125.3 million hectoliters were drunk, in 2020 consumption was 93.6 million hectoliters.

This corresponds to a decline of 24 percent, which is mainly due to the fact that less and less beer is being drunk.

Sales of wine and spirits have remained almost constant.

In addition, young people no longer start drinking alcohol so early.

Overall, adolescents and young adults drink less.

Despite this, binge drinking is still widespread.

According to one of the underlying surveys, almost a quarter of 16- and 17-year-olds and more than 30 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds had drunk in the previous month.