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Four in 100 deaths worldwide are caused by alcohol, says WHO

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 14 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1032
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

Governments worldwide need to do more to cut harmful drinking, which causes an estimated 2.5 million deaths every year, says a report by the World Health Organization.

Harmful use of alcohol is now the world’s third leading risk factor for disease, said Shekhar Saxena, WHO’s director for non-communicable diseases.

He said, “There are 60 different kinds of diseases [in which] alcohol has a significant causal role, including [non-communicable diseases] such as cancers and cardiovascular diseases, and it also contributes to about 200 other diseases.”

WHO’s Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health says that alcohol misuse is a major factor contributing to death, disease, and injury to the drinker, through effects such as dependence, liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis, cancers (colorectal, breast, larynx, liver, …

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