Swiss vices seen in an international comparison

One in four Swiss smokes cigarettes and one in five drinks alcohol in amounts that could be hazardous to health, according to a report on addiction. Advocacy organisations argue that the government is giving in to special interests and has not done enough to address the situation.

This content was published on February 17, 2017

In this graphic, the top and bottom countries have recorded the highest and lowest amounts or percentages, according to the OECD.

More than half of those Swiss who smoke want to quit, according to Addiction Switzerland. A quarter of a million Swiss had alcohol addiction problems, it said.

“Politicians accept the status quo in order to defend special interests,” said spokesperson Markus Meury, pointing to lobbying efforts that recently helped kill an attempted ban on cigarette advertising.

An effort to ban the sale of alcohol after a certain time of night also failed in parliament in 2016. Some 1,600 people die of alcohol abuse in Switzerland every year.

Addiction Switzerland also highlighted that cannabis consumption is not regulated the same way in all cantons, with law enforcement officials reacting differently to the law. Under a 2013 law, anyone over 18 caught in possession of up to ten grams of cannabis will receive a CHF100 ($100) fine and avoid having a criminal record. 

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Sort by

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Weekly top stories

Keep up to date with the best stories from SWI on a range of topics, straight into your mailbox.


The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.