Study suggests vodka is a leading cause of death among Russian men

BY Cindy Huang  January 31, 2014 at 4:07 PM EDT

Vodka bottles
Study says alcohol use is cause of death among 25 percent of Russian men who die before age 55. Photo by Flickr user Colognid

A recent study in The Lancet suggests that the 25 percent of Russian men who die before they are 55 do so because of alcohol use.

The causes of death from alcohol — particularly vodka — include liver disease, alcohol poisoning, accidents and brawls. In the UK, only seven percent of early deaths for men are attributed to alcohol.

For ten years, researchers tracked the drinking patterns of 151,000 men from three Russian cities. During that time, 8,000 died.

“Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the last 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,” University of Oxford professor Richard Peto told the BBC.