Friday, August 14, 2009

Alcohol and cause-specific Mortality in Russia

Historical estimates suggest that the average Russian drinks about a bottle of vodka per week. In the current issue of the Lancet alcohol is identified as a cause of more than half of all Russian deaths at ages 15-54 years. But its not just vodka doing the damage, Russian men who have a life expectancy of 59, are documented to be using colognes, medical tintures and cleaning agents in less orthodox ways with severe consequences (eight-fold increase in premature mortality). Along with the main findings there is also some interesting attention given to the availability and display of such goods "..[the authors] visited a shop where the top shelf carried a row of eau de colognes, the next one bottles of anti-freeze and the one below that cleaning fluids. They all contained ethanol - the way they were displayed was testimony to the fact that they were being sold for their ethanol".

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