Aims: To explain comprehensively variations in adult male mortality rate in Europe, and in particular, high mortality in some East European countries with particular focus on specific patterns of alcohol consumption. Short summary: Per capita distilled spirits consumption is found to be the strongest determinant of the adult male mortality rate in Europe as soon as the unrecorded alcohol consumption is taken into account. It turns out to be much stronger than the other tested significant determinants such as per capita health expenditures, smoking prevalence, consumption of hard drugs and per capita consumption of vegetables and fruit.
Methods: Ordinary least squares (OLS) multiple regression with adult male mortality rate as a dependent variable, and various indicators of alcohol and drug consumption as well as logarithm of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, logarithm of total per capita health expenditures, latitude (climatic factors), per capita fruit and vegetable consumption, smoking prevalence as independent factors.
Results: Per capita distilled spirits consumption turns out to be the strongest determinant of the adult male mortality rate in Europe as soon as the unrecorded alcohol consumption is taken into account. It turns out to be much stronger than the other tested significant determinants of the adult male mortality rate such as per capita health expenditures, smoking prevalence, consumption of hard drugs and per capita consumption of vegetables and fruit. Still, higher per capita wine consumption has turned out to be a marginally significant determinant of the higher adult male mortality rate in some tests. Latitude, beer and soft drug consumption have turned out insignificant in this study.
Conclusions: Spirits consumption is a major risk factor of adult male mortality, with significantly greater impact compared to beer and wine. Therefore, reduction in distilled spirits consumption in hard liquor drinking areas should be a major target in health policy.
Aims: To describe the effects of Russian policy since 2006 affecting price and availability on the consumption of recorded and unrecorded alcohol, with specific reference to homemade alcohol, and to investigate other factors affecting homemade alcohol consumption and purchasing. Methods: Consumption and preferred beverage data were collected from RLMS-HSE nationwide panel surveys from 1994 to 2013, with a detailed analysis of 2012 data (18,221 respondents aged 16+ years). Official statistics on manufactured alcohol sales, regional price increase and real disposable income were used. Results: Homemade distilled spirits (samogon) consumption decreased together with that of recorded and unrecorded manufactured spirits since 2000. The consumption of spirits was partially replaced by the consumption of beer and wine. These trends in alcohol consumption were interrupted in 2008–2013. The interruption was more likely affected by the economic crisis and recession than by the new alcohol policy. Social networks and availability of unrecorded alcohol were more important predictors of homemade alcohol consumption and purchasing than was a recorded alcohol price increase. Conclusions: Homemade alcohol consumption does not replace the declining market for recorded spirits in Russia. The effects of economic and social factors on homemade alcohol consumption are greater than are the short-term effects of the new alcohol policy. The very recent (2015) reduction of the minimum unit price of vodka may be premature.