Vodka and Russian Male Life Expectancy

Via the the BBC, some pretty stunning numbers:  Vodka blamed for high death rates in Russia:

The high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka, research suggests.

The study, in The Lancet, says 25% of Russian men die before they are 55, and most of the deaths are down to alcohol. The comparable UK figure is 7%.

Causes of death include liver disease and alcohol poisoning. Many also die in accidents or after getting into fights.

In chart form:

Chart showing the high risk of death among Russian men

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Another chapter in “Annals of the Unexpected”. It’s sad but hardly a surprise.

  2. If I lived in Russia, I’d drink too

  3. bill says:

    so the ussr fell apart 6 years after they restricted alcohol, coincidence? time for a vodka tonic anyway.

  4. John Peabody says:

    They should only allow bottles 1 pint or less. That’s sure to stop the problem!

  5. al-Ameda says:

    Vodka really is a rot-gut “beverage” – just nasty.

  6. john personna says:

    @John Peabody:

    I assume that people think that’s funny, and those are the up-votes?

    Actually, this would strike me as a sad example of human irrationality, and yes, things like a pint-ban would have to reduce the mortality.

    But ha, ha, who cares.

  7. john personna says:


    That research suggested that a 10% increase in the average minimum price for all alcohol beverages in British Columbia might be associated with as much as a 30% drop in deaths wholly attributed to alcohol such as alcohol psychoses, alcoholic cardiomyopathy and alcohol-induced pancreatitis.

  8. Franklin says:

    @john personna: I think it can both be funny and true.