Online Library – Jürgen Rehm1,2,3,*, Witold Zatonksi4, Ben Taylor5, Peter Anderson6
Article first published online: 16 FEB 2011
Alcohol is an important risk factor, globally causing more burden of disease than tobacco [1,2]. World-wide, about one in 25 deaths in 2004 were caused by alcohol (3.8%; among men: 6.3%; among women: 1.1% ). As alcohol has many non-fatal outcomes and can cause harm, particularly injuries early in life, the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), i.e. the years of life lost due to premature death and disability, are proportionally even higher: 4.6% of all DALYs were caused by alcohol (men: 7.6%; women: 1.4% ). Most of these DALYs fall into the categories of neuropsychiatric disorders (with the overwhelming majority in alcohol use disorders), unintentional and intentional injuries, cirrhosis of the liver, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Infectious diseases (including tuberculosis and pneumonia) have also been found to be impacted causally by alcohol, but were not yet included in the above analyses [3–5]. Alcohol, if consumed in a pattern of light regular drinking without heavy episodic drinking patterns, can also have a positive impact, mainly on ischaemic cardiovascular diseases . The above figures are net figures, taking into account the protective effects.