European gender death gap due to smoking

Jan. 19, 2011 at 3:16 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- Women outlive men in Europe because men smoke and drink more than women, researchers in Britain say.

The research, published in the journal Tobacco Control, finds smoking accounts for up to 60 percent of the gender gap in death rates across Europe, with alcohol another 20 percent.

Dr. Gerry McCartney of the Medical Research Council in England, the study leader, says the researchers used data from the World Health Organization on death rates among men and women from all causes as well as those attributable to smoking and drinking in 30 European countries for the years closest to 2005.

Smoking-related deaths included respiratory tract cancers, coronary artery disease, stroke and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Alcohol-related deaths include cancers of the throat and gullet and chronic liver disease, as well as alcoholic psychosis and violence.

Although the death rates were higher for men in all countries, the death rates varied among countries from 188 per 100,000 of the population a year in Iceland to 942 per 100,000 in Ukraine. Most countries with a gender gap of more than 400 per 100,000 were in Eastern Europe.

Iceland had the lowest male death rate at 97 per 100,000 attributable to smoking and those with the highest death rate were in Ukraine at 495 per 100,000.

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