One in 10 male deaths in Europe are caused by alcohol, according to research published in The Lancet.
According to a global study of the cost of alcohol by researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto led by Dr Jürgen Rehm, each person in the world drinks the equivalent of 6.2 litres of pure ethanol on average a year - 12 units a week.
But in wealthier societies, people drink more. In Europe, the average is 11.9 litres of ethanol per year per person. At 21.5 units a week, this average, which despite including the millions who do not drink, is still slightly higher than the recommended safe amount for men of 21 units/week.
There are huge variations within Europe. The rates of alcohol-attributable mortality per 10,000 population younger than 70 years varied between 1·1 in the eastern Mediterranean region and 15·0 in the heaviest drinking regions. The countries with the highest overall consumption are in eastern Europe around Russia.
All together, 3.8% of all deaths worldwide are due to alcohol but alcohol-attributable mortality rates for men are about 5·2 times those for women. Men drink more than women and are more likely to binge drink: 6.3% of men's deaths are from drinking and 1.8% of women's. Drinkers mostly die from injuries, cancer, heart disease and liver cirrhosis.