In Russia, 59% of deaths in men and 33% of deaths in women between the ages of 15-54 were caused by alcohol. Most of these alcohol-attributed deaths were from alcohol poisoning, accidents, violence, or one of eight disease groups strongly related to alcohol, such as TB, pneumonia, pancreatitis or liver disease.
Professor Sir Richard Peto of the Clinical Trial Service Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford, who led the statistical analyses said: ‘If current Russian death rates continue, then about 5% of all young women and 25% of all young men will die before age 55 years from the direct or indirect effects of drinking.
Russian deaths from disease are further aggravated by widespread smoking. Male lung cancer rates (which are driven by smoking and not by drinking) are about 50% higher in Russia than in Western Europe or North America. After the age of 55, tobacco may well cause more deaths than alcohol, but at younger ages alcohol has been shown to cause, in Russia, even more deaths than tobacco.
National mortality statistics show that the overall risk of death among people of working age in Russia is now more than four times as great as in Western Europe
The study, published in The Lancet, estimates the percentage of alcohol-related deaths based on accidents, alcohol abuse, and various health conditions — including certain cancers, high blood pressure, and liver problems — in which alcohol may play a role.
The researchers — who included Jurgen Rehm, PhD, of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto — analyzed 2003 data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations, and other sources.