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Higher alcohol prices wouldn't stop booze binge

Higher alcohol prices wouldn't lead Europeans, a tenth of whom are regular “binge drinkers,” to drink less, according to a European Union survey.

The survey, published in Brussels today, shows Ireland, Finland, the U.K. and Denmark are home to the most binge drinkers. A third of Irish respondents and a quarter of the British drink more than five drinks at one sitting, meeting what the EU says is the “widely used” definition of the term.

Companies such as InBev NV, the world's largest brewer, wouldn't face declining sales should extra taxes inflate alcohol prices, according to the survey. Even in the face of a 25% increase in prices, 62% of Europeans would maintain current levels of consumption, it said. “I'm deeply concerned by the data showing that one in five young Europeans regularly binge drink,” Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said today in a statement.

The EU doesn't plan to introduce new legislation, said his spokesman, Philip Tod. Europeans also favor battling drunk driving with warnings on alcohol bottles and more stringent testing, the survey said. A total of 28,584 people were surveyed between October 6 and November 8, the EU said. (Bloomberg)