Vodka, the Russian universal drink might be connecting people with their tombs. Everyone knows how passionate are the Russian’s for their drink, but studies have shown a strong link between heavy vodka drinkers and premature deaths.Poisoning by smuggled or illicit vodka are also an issue. The government is trying to reduce the vodka consumption by increasing prices.
Drinking Habits to Die for
A large study was conducted on 151.000 men and women for a period of ten years by a team of researchers from the Russian Cancer Research Centre in Moscow, the University of Oxford, and the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer in France. The study showed that a quarter of all Russian men die before their 55th anniversary and the culprit is vodka. By comparison, only 7% of British men die prematurely due to alcohol consumption.
Cause of Death: Vodka
The results of the study proved that a Russian tradition named zapoi make people indulge in very heavy drinking during a couple of days. Related to the fact even heavy drinkers usually take a small drinking pause of two or three days, researchers came up with the conclusion that binge drinking is the cause of death in Russian men, rather than the large quantity of vodka.
A complementary study, which analyzed cause of deaths in Russian men showed that vodka is the main cause of premature death also by kidney diseases, car accidents, suicide and violent acts.
Half the men and more than 10% of women subjected to this second study drank at least a bottle of vodka weekly.
Women Drink like Fathers Instead of Cooking like Mothers
Not only Russian men are fond of heavy drinking, but also are women. The first study to ever include women proved that Russian ladies die prematurely due to vodka. The mortality rates in women are not so high like the ones in men, but the issue affects both genres.
Russian government tried to take action against vodka since the mid 80’s, when Gorbachev restricted the sales. Death rates also decrease by a staggering 25% and life expectancy rose. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russians felt the need to celebrate and turned to their old friend vodka so men were once again dying young. In 2006 the government reinstated the restrictive laws upon alcohol and as expected the life expectancy rose for the Russians.
This strong correlation between restrictions and deaths leaves no room for doubting the conclusion. It is clear that vodka has a big influence on the Russian’s life and abuse in this case like in many others leads to premature death, a series of alcohol-related diseases and chronic health conditions.