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European Men Dying Prematurely from Smoking, Alcohol Use

Posted in Smoking

A new study from the European Union shows that men are twice as likely as women to die before the age of 65 due to drinking alcohol and smoking. The report found that every year, 630,000 men under the age of 65 die compared with 300,000 females in this age group across the European Union.

Study author Dr. Richard de Visser, of the University of Sussex, examined in particular the effects of alcohol, drug use, and sexual behavior on premature death. He found that 63 percent of men had smoked at some point in their lives compared to 45 percent of women. An estimated one in seven deaths in the EU can be attributed to smoking.

He also found that men are more likely to drink alcohol and use drugs than women. In 23 out of 31 countries, the male death rate from chronic liver disease is at least double that of women. Men also accounted for 82 percent of heroin overdose deaths.

Dr. de Visser said that lifestyles are not simply individual choice, and that those in lower social-economic classes exercise less, eat in less healthy manners, and are more likely to abuse drugs and smoke. He added that there is a growing awareness of the need for lifestyle modification in early life among men who engage in risky health behaviors.

Lead author Alan White, a professor at Leeds Metropolitan University, said that the study provides the first clear picture of men’s health across the EU. Although there was a partial picture by country or disease area previously, this study brings everything together so that policy makers across Europe can see what they’re dealing with, he added.

The rates at which premature death in males occurs vary by country. For example, men in Iceland can expect to live to 80, while Latvian men have a life expectancy of 66 years.

Dr. Ian Banks, president of the European Men’s Health Forum, said that premature death among males undermines the economy, families, women’s health, and social security and health services. He added that to succeed economically, men of working age need to be in good health.

Source: Daily Mail UK, Men twice as likely as women to die before 65 because of smoking and alcohol abuse, June 21, 2011