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World's heaviest drinkers in Europe

A Europe-wide rise in alcohol-related deaths is due to more women drinkers, according to a report published in The Lancet.

Researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, report that a tenth of deaths in Europe and one in 25 worldwide are due to alcohol.

Most were the result of injuries, cancer, heart disease and liver cirrhosis, while drinking also leads to 5% of years being lived with a disability.

The report notes that while average global consumption is 12 units per person per week, it is 21.5 in Europe and 18 in the US. Two units are contained in a pint of mild beer or a large glass of wine.

Although more men suffer alcohol-related deaths than women – 6.3% compared with 1.8% – total deaths "have increased since 2000 mainly because of increases in the number of women drinking", the researchers found.

Says author Dr Jurgen Rehm: "We face a large and increasing alcohol-attributable burden at a time when we know more than ever about which strategies can effectively and cost-effectively control alcohol-related harms."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

The Lancet

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"Not an easy task - highlight the problem nationally with campaigns, target women who attend their medical centres - offer advice, information. I always ask about consumption at the smear appointment." - Jeanne McComasky