03 2015
Aug

How much a peg of alcohol costs in India?

writter by Sridharan Mani Director and CEO, American Megatrends India Pvt Ltd

I was doing some research on production and consumption of alcohol in India. I was shocked to note that Indian alcohol consumption has increased by almost 150% in the last 10+ years. Close to 480 million (less than half the population) consume an average of 17 liters of pure alcohol annually. Also, Indians seems to prefer hard liquor that is more harmful to health and break-up of type of alcohol consumed is depicted below.

India is identified as the potentially third largest market for alcoholic beverages in the world. It has attracted the attention of multinational liquor companies in 2011. UB Group became the second largest spirits producer globally. 99% of UB's spirit sales generated from India.

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In the recent survey conducted by WHO, it is highlighted that alcohol consumption has led to dependence and found to increase the risk of 200+ odd diseases including hypertension, mouth cancer, liver diseases, heart failure/stroke and liver cirrhosis.

Alcohol does take a toll on health, if it is above the lower risk daily guidelines (published by NHS, UK). This data and statistics made me think to put this article on "How much a peg of alcohol costs?"

Let us start with basics of looking at alcohol consumption and number of cases reported on alcohol related diseases & deaths in the past several years. To perform this analysis, the data was collected from WHO (World Health Organization), WDI (World Development Indicators) & NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau). The interpretations of the same are presented here.

The below chart is indication of consumption of pure alcohol in liters in relation to per person (15+ years). As you can see the consumption of alcohol in per capita terms has increased by 187%.

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DOES ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION CONSTITUTE AS A STATUS SYMBOL?

Many decades before Alcohol consumption was considered as a sin and it has now become the fashion statement in India. Many youth consider consuming alcohol has style and hence, the increase in the consumption. Even Bollywood and Kollywood take pride in projecting that consuming alcohol makes someone exceptional. For instance, some of the recent movie songs take pride in projecting youth demanding alcohol as their legal right without highlighting the damages it cause to health & future.

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To do a proper analogy, let us look at western countries like USA, UK & France and see the pattern of consumption over the years.

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It is interesting to note that the consumption in most of the western countries is coming down over the years even with increase in population. However in India, the case is drastically increased. Over projection in the media and advertisements highlighting alcohol as a status symbol among youth is leading to increase in consumption and alcohol abuse.

Over-consumption of Alcohol & Alcohol addiction is considered as the third greatest lifestyle risk for disease and death. The effect of alcohol and damages it causes in UK is well highlighted in this article - Statistics on alcohol (UK).

ALCOHOL PRODUCTION IN INDIA

Like alcohol consumption, alcohol production in India is also increasing over the years. United Sprits is dominating market leader in India in alcohol production. Here is a chart of the sales growth of their popular brand over the years.

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TASMAC accounts for 80% sales from hard liquor and 20% from beer. Here is the chart of their YOY growth. TASMAC had an amazing growth of 727% in revenues over the last 12 financial years.

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Both United Spirits and TASMAC growth indicates that more youth are becoming alcoholics and it shall pose a greater threat for India as close to 65% of population is below 35 years or under.

ALCOHOL RELATED DEATHS

NCRB crime data highlights the increase in alcohol related deaths. The data proves the direct relation between alcohol consumption and deaths. Increase in alcohol consumption proportionally increases accidental/suicidal deaths. Here is a chart illustrating the same.

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Liver Cirrhosis is a slow killer disease that slowly replaces the healthy tissue with the scar tissue in the liver and deters the functioning of liver.

Liver is an important organ in our body. It processes all nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins & minerals and removes toxins & microbes through urine. When alcohol is consumed, the liver has to do extra work to convert ethanol to less toxic acetate. This is a time consuming process and while doing this, liver stops producing glucose that is essential for organs, especially brain. Lack of glucose after alcohol consumption is the one that causes dizziness, nausea and other side effects. Liver converts alcohol into fats and they get deposited in the liver making it a fatty liver. Fatty liver causing inflammation leads to alcoholic hepatitis and progresses to fibrosis/cirrhosis. Here is a good article on why alcohol is a bad news for your liver?..

Liver Cirrhosis has resulted more than 1 million deaths in 2010 and alcohol is a key factor influencing the same. Here is a small analysis on the deaths due to Liver Cirrhosis over the years across the globe.

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Liver cirrhosis damages the full functionality of the liver and in many cases the person may need a liver transplant. If the patient is diagnosed for liver transplant, they have to wait for the donor. The waiting time period in liver transplant is around 18 months. The liver transplant may cost anywhere around 50 lakhs. "In India one out of five suffer from liver ailments" said Dr A S Soin, chief surgeon of Jupiter-Medanta Liver Transplant program.

HOW MUCH A PEG OF ALCOHOL COSTS?

It depends, if the person is an occasional drinker & within the safe limits and don't drink & drive, the peg may just be the cost of the drink.

If the individual is a habitual drinker and requires liver transplant, it may cost the peg + 44 lakhs to transplant the liver. If the individual is an addict and uncontrolled drinker, it may cost their life and they might be the reason for putting their family, friends and relatives in financial and personal trouble.

At any cost, if the individual becomes an addict, the individual then becomes a problem to themselves and to their family & society.

Words of caution, before taking the next peg, please check whether you are within in the safe limits. Never drunk & drive. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Prevention is better than Cure – if you could prevent drinking alcohol and could get rid of the habit, you have one less problem to handle in life.

LIFE WITHOUT DISEASES IS EQUIVALENT TO ENDLESS WEALTH

This article is written in the interest of encouraging everyone to lead a healthy and happy lifestyle.

At American Megatrends (AMI), we promote 'Prevention is better than Cure' and we firmly believe in it. We are Team Danvantri part of AMI, one among the 10 finalists of Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE that has designed healthcare products to take control of your health. Our healthcare products and services are designed to bring awareness of individual's health to palm of their hands. Our lifestyle products AMI B.O.L.T and AMI VitalsFit are designed to address these requirements by supporting individuals to measure the key health parameters in comfort of their homes. The ability to maintain trends and share the health records instantaneously with quality healthcare providers makes our solution unique and first of its kind.

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Wishing you a very healthy, happy and alcohol free prosperous life.