WHO: Alcohol Kills Someone Every 10 Seconds
Total annual toll: 3.3M
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2014 11:32 AM CDT
A Russian man drinks from a bottle standing in front of a liquor booth in a street in Moscow, Tuesday, March 23, 2010.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – The World Health Organization today released a new report on alcohol, and it's full of pretty dour stats. Among the most eye-grabbing ones, per the WHO and the AFP:

  • Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year.
  • That's more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and violence—combined.
  • That's equal to 5.9% of all deaths across the planet, or more than one in 20.
  • "This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds," says a WHO rep.

The report encompasses drunk driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and related diseases and disorders ("the harmful use of alcohol is a causal factor in more than 200 disease and injury conditions," per the report). The UN health agency also noted that drinking is on the rise in countries that have typically seen low consumption, like China and India, as incomes rise. As far as consumption, take in this stat: When it's divvied up across every person on the planet over the age of 15, the average annual consumption is 1.6 gallons of pure alcohol. When calculated across only those who drink, the average is 4.5 gallons. The WHO would like to see governments do more "to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption." Among its suggestions: use taxes and price levels to lower demand.

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Showing 3 of 78 comments
Michael J. McFadden
May 16, 2014 9:40 PM CDT
Just wait till they get to secondhand drinking (Yes, they're already talking about it in terms of drunk driving etc, but wait till they get to the carcinogenic alcohol fumes. See: http://bit.ly/AlcoFumes ) - MJM
Michael J. McFadden
May 16, 2014 9:39 PM CDT
The stats in this article, if correct, put the AVERAGE drinker at consuming a little over a full gallon of vodka every month! - MJM
John Davidson Jr
May 16, 2014 1:55 PM CDT
Judge doesnt accept statistical studies as proof of LC causation! It was McTear V Imperial Tobacco. Here is the URL for both my summary and the Judge’s ‘opinion’ (aka ‘decision’): http://boltonsmokersclub.wordpress.com/the-mctear-case-the-analysis/ (2.14) Prof Sir Richard Doll, Mr Gareth Davies (CEO of ITL). Prof James Friend and Prof Gerad Hastings gave oral evidence at a meeting of the Health Committee in 2000. This event was brought up during the present action as putative evidence that ITL had admitted that smoking caused various diseases. Although this section is quite long and detailed, I think that we can miss it out. Essentially, for various reasons, Doll said that ITL admitted it, but Davies said that ITL had only agreed that smoking might cause diseases, but ITL did not know. ITL did not contest the public health messages. (2.62) ITL then had the chance to tell the Judge about what it did when the suspicion arose of a connection between lung cancer and smoking. Researchers had attempted to cause lung cancer in animals from tobacco smoke, without success. It was right, therefore, for ITL to ‘withhold judgement’ as to whether or not tobacco smoke caused lung cancer. [9.10] In any event, the pursuer has failed to prove individual causation. Epidemiology cannot be used to establish causation in any individual case, and the use of statistics applicable to the general population to determine the likelihood of causation in an individual is fallacious. Given that there are possible causes of lung cancer other than cigarette smoking, and given that lung cancer can occur in a nonsmoker, it is not possible to determine in any individual case whether but for an individual’s cigarette smoking he probably would not have contracted lung cancer (paras.[6.172] to [6.185]). [9.11] In any event there was no lack of reasonable care on the part of ITL at any point at which Mr McTear consumed their products, and the pursuer’s negligence case fails. There is no breach of a duty of care on the part of a manufacturer, if a consumer of the manufacturer’s product is harmed by the product, but the consumer knew of the product’s potential for causing harm prior to consumption of it. The individual is well enough served if he is given such information as a normally intelligent person would include in his assessment of how he wishes to conduct his life, thus putting him in the position of making an informed choice (paras.[7.167] to [7.181]).