It would seem one of the most popular drinks originating from Russia also plays a big factor in the death rate. The latest results of a decade long study conducted by Russian Cancer Research Center in Moscow, WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer and Oxford University UK have concluded that huge amounts of alcohol consumption, mainly vodka, is related to so many men dying before the age of 55.
Compared to the UK where only 7% of men die before 55, Russia retains a much higher percentage of 25%. According to the study which followed 151 000 participants for the last 10 years, the main reason for this significant difference is mainly due to excess drinking. Alcohol poisoning, liver failure, drunk driving and fights while intoxicated can most probably be linked with the 8000 people who died within the course of the study.
After interviewing the participants the research team concluded that a much higher risk is linked to those who consume three or more bottles per week as supposed to those who drink less than one bottle. A former study has been published in The Lancet 5 years ago by the same institutions based on 49 000 family members who lost loved ones in three typical cities (Tomsk, Byisk and Barnaul).
The families of the deceased were interviewed regarding drinking and smoking habits of the departed in order to get more clarity on the subject. It is safe to say that over the last 30 years Russia has seen various restrictions being implemented and uplifted with the changes in government. Presidents Yeltsin, Gorbachev and Putin (currently in office) all had their own respective opinions on how to handle the situation, leading to a fair amount of instability.
The research team also found that when alcohol restrictions were in place, consumption and death rates soon followed on a more positive note. The consumption rate alone dropped with 25%. With the fall of communism these figures were short lived so-to-speak and once again consumption and death started to escalate. In the course of Yeltsin’s reign the figure for young men dying doubled in light of the collapsing society and more readily available vodka.
Although the women of Russia also have a share in the statistics, their drinking habits are far less resulting in much lower death rates. However, it hasn’t always been stable and has followed the same pattern of raising and falling over the course of leadership. Co-author Dr. Paul Brennan was quoted saying that the changing habits from heavy drinkers to light drinkers and vice-versa, causing differences in the mortality rate they observed, highly underestimates the real danger of continual heavy drinking.
The same study shows that most of the people who drank were smokers. It goes without saying that this only encouraged the already high fatality rates. In 2006 the country decided to take more control of the situation, especially in the case of alcohol. Within these measures they implemented sales restrictions and increased taxes in hopes of acting as a safeguard.
Luckily their methods had some effect and research shows a decrease in death rates. What used to be a 37% fatality rate for men under 55 has fallen to 25%. This latest study has been published on 31 Jan 2014 in The Lancet.