Vodka to Blame for Russia’s “Extraordinarily High” Early Death Risk, Study Finds

Vodka to Blame for Russia’s “Extraordinarily High” Early Death Risk, Study Finds

In this Sept. 2005 file photo, men sleep after drinking on a bench in downtown Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexei Sazonov, File)
In this Sept. 2005 file photo, men sleep after drinking on a bench in downtown Moscow. (AP Photo/Alexei Sazonov, File)

Vodka is the alcoholic drink of choice for many Russians, and new research suggests the drink might be leading them into an early grave.

A study of more than 150,000 Russians found men who drank three or more bottles of vodka per week were about twice as likely to die prematurely than men who drank less than a bottle per week.

That might explain why 25 percent of Russian men die before the age of 55, compared to about 7 percent of men in the U.K., according to the British researchers behind the study.

“Since the average life expectancy from birth for men in Russia is still only 64 years, ranking among the lowest 50 countries in the world, more effective alcohol and tobacco policy measures are urgently needed,” Dr Jürgen Rehm, director of social and epidemiological research at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health in Toronto, said in a statement.