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CAMH Stories Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Study: alcohol is the main cause of death for Russian men under 55

In a new study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, researchers identified alcohol, specifically vodka, as the main cause of the high death rate of Russian men under 55.

That means one in four Russian men are dying prematurely because they are consuming too much alcohol. Mortality rates in 2005 for Russian men under 55 was 37 per cent. The equivalent death rate of British men was about seven per cent and nine per cent for Canadian men.

Over 150,000 people were followed in this study which found much higher risks in death in men who drank three or more bottles of vodka a week than in men who drank less than one bottle a week.

In a commentary which accompanied the study, Dr. Jurgen Rehm, Director of CAMH’s Social and Epidemiological Research Department wrote, “It is the combination of high overall volume with the specific pattern of episodic binges that is necessary to explain the high level and fluctuating trends of total and alcohol-attributed mortality in Russia.”

Dr. Rehm says Canada can also learn from the findings of this study. “The Russians don’t drink that much more than Canadians. This (study) is another warning that alcohol is dangerous and we should not increase (consumption).”

Media coverage of the study can be viewed at:

Dr. Jurgen Rehm
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