The Shocking Number of Russian Men Killed By Vodka

The World
How It Works
Jan. 31 2014 11:55 AM

Vodka’s Death Toll

84804124-russian-veterans-of-the-afghan-war-drink-vodka-during-a
Russian veterans of the Afghan war drink vodka during a rally on Polonnaya hill in Moscow on Feb. 15, 2009.

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

A disturbing study in the Lancet looking at the causes of mortality tracked 151,000 men over 10 years, during which 8,000 of them died. They found that “risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week was shocking 35 percent.”

The average Russian adult drinks about 13 liters of pure alcohol per year, of which 8 liters is hard alcohol, mainly vodka. For men, it’s closer to 20 liters. (Americans, by contrast, consume an average of about 9 liters of alcohol per year, half of which is beer.)

Advertisement

Overall, as the Guardian notes, “a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with 7% of men in the UK and fewer than 1% in the United States. The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years, placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category.”

The good news is that alcohol control measures imposed by the government in 2006 appear to be having some effect. Alcohol consumption has fallen by a third since then, with a corresponding 12 percent drop in the pre-55 death rate. 

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs and writes the World blog. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Right to Run

If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.

Move Aside, Oxford Comma, the New Battle Is Over Single or Double Quotes

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK

Culturebox

The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here

I feel like a kid in some kind of store.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 11:06 AM The Right to Run If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 22 2014 11:36 AM Casting the Role of Scarlett O'Hara Was Really, Really Frustrating
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 10:00 AM On the Internet, Men Are Called Names. Women Are Stalked and Sexually Harassed.
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 22 2014 11:04 AM Do All U.S. Presidents Look the Same? What About Japan’s Prime Ministers?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 10:29 AM Apple TV Could Still Work Here’s how Apple can fix its living-room product.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 22 2014 11:30 AM Where Does Ebola Hide? My nerve-wracking research with shrieking bats.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.