MAPS: Where do Switzerland's heaviest drinkers and smokers live?

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MAPS: Where do Switzerland's heaviest drinkers and smokers live?
Swiss football supporters at Euro 2016. Photo: ROMAIN LAFABREGUE / AFP

New figures show which parts of Switzerland indulge and overindulge the most.


A new study by the Swiss Health Observatory has shown which parts of Switzerland consume the most illicit substances - from alcohol to cannabis - while also giving a snapshot as to where residents need to tighten their belts. 

While the actual tipple might differ - aperitivo in Ticino, wine in Romandy and beer pretty much everywhere else - the Swiss do love a drink. 

Just over one in ten (10.9 percent) consume alcohol at least once per day in Switzerland - just half of the 20.4 percent who drank daily in 1992. 

While men drink more than women all across the country, the amount consumed per capita varies widely depending on the canton in question. 

The same goes for cannabis. While not legal in Switzerland, it is still widely used. In fact, a poll by the World Health Organisation showed that more teenagers smoked in Switzerland than in any other European country, with 27 percent of 15 year olds having smoked at least once.

READ: Switzerland green lights recreational marijuana trial 

Ticino is the place to drink

Ticino is home to the heaviest drinkers in Switzerland, with more than 20 percent enjoying a drink daily. Ticino is followed by Jura and Geneva in terms of daily consumption. 

In Obwalden, only five percent of the population drinks daily - the lowest of anywhere in Switzerland. 

Geneva does however boast the most teetotallers, with 21 percent of Geneva not drinking at all. 

Image: Swiss Health Observatory 2020

Foreigners more likely to abstain

The research also showed that foreigners are the least likely to drink alcohol, with almost one in three (28 percent) not drinking at all, compared with 14.9 percent of native-born Swiss. 

The unemployed were also much more likely to drink, with 17.4 percent of those without a job drinking once per day - compared to eight percent of employed persons. 


Appenzeller Ausserrhoder the greenest of them all

The small eastern canton of Appenzeller Ausserrhoder takes the space cake when it comes to cannabis consumption - with 5.6 percent smoking it at least once per month. 

Next is Vaud (5.6 percent), Geneva (5.2), Zurich (5.2) and Neuchatel (5). 

The national average in Switzerland is four percent of the population smoking weed at least once per month. 

Argau consumes the least, with 1.7 percent of residents using marijuana monthly, followed by Obwalden. 

Residents of Ticino clearly prefer alcohol, with only 2.1 percent smoking cannabis on a monthly basis. 

Image: Swiss Health Observatory 2020

Where do the biggest victims of cheese and chocolate live? 

The study also broke down Switzerland’s obesity problem to see which cantons were the chubbiest. 

While the alcohol and cannabis figures showed a wide variation, it was not the case in relation to obesity - with the cantonal averages broadly reflective of the national averages. 

An average of 41.9 percent of adults are overweight in Switzerland - up from 30.4 percent in 1992. Men (51 percent) are significantly more likely to be obese than women (33 percent). 


Aargau is the most obese canton, with 45.8 percent of the population overweight. Jura (45.3) and Thurgau (44.7) follow closely behind. 

Zurich might be the most populous canton, but it’s the lightest - with only 38.6 percent of the population overweight. Obwalden, Vaud, Geneva, Grisons, Uri and Ticino are all below the national average. 

Foreigners tend to be a little heavier than Swiss locals, with 46.7 percent overweight compared to 40.4 of Swiss. 

Image: Swiss Health Observatory

Note: This information was published in June 2020 by the Swiss Health Observatory based on figures collected from 2017. 



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