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Vodka Consumption Killing Russian Men

Update Date: Jan 30, 2014 08:41 PM EST

Vodka is killing Russian men, according to a new study.

Previous studies reveal that 25 percent of all Russian men die before the age of 55 years old compared to only 7 percent of men living in the United Kingdom.

"Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the past 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka. This has been shown in retrospective studies, and now we've confirmed it in a big, reliable prospective study," co-author Professor Sir Richard Peto from the University of Oxford said in a news release.

The latest study involved 151,000 Russian people who were asked how much vodka they drank. The people were then followed for up to a decade, during which 8,000 died.

Researchers found that men who drank three or more bottles of vodka a week were significantly more likely to die than those who drank less than one bottle a week.

The latest findings suggest that the 20-year risk of death of smokers between the ages of 35 and 54 who reported drinking three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week were 35 percent compared to 16 percent for men who had reported consuming less than half a liter a week. The study revealed that the corresponding risks of death between ages 55 and 74 were 64 percent and 50 percent respectively.

"The significant decline in Russian mortality rates following the introduction of moderate alcohol controls in 2006 demonstrates the reversibility of the health crisis from hazardous drinking. People who drink spirits in hazardous ways greatly reduce their risk of premature death as soon as they stop," lead researcher Professor David Zaridze from the Russian Cancer Research Center in Moscow said in a news release.

The findings are published in The Lancet.  

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