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Alcohol and Mortality: A Ten-Year Kaiser-Permanente Experience

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Grant support: in part by the Community Service Program of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and by a grant from the U.S. Brewers' Association, Inc.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Arthur L. Klatsky, M.D.; Department of Medicine, Kaiser-Permanente Medical Center, 280 West MacArthur Boulevard; Oakland, CA 94611.

Oakland, California

© 1981 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(2):139-145. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-95-2-139
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We studied 10-year mortality in relation to baseline alcohol use habits among four groups of 2015 persons, well matched for age, sex, race, and cigarette smoking. Persons reporting daily use of two drinks or fewer fared best; the heaviest drinkers (six or more drinks) had a doubled mortality rate, and users of three to five drinks had a mortality rate approximately 50% higher. The nondrinkers had a mortality rate similar to that of users of three to five drinks per day. Cancer, cirrhosis, accidents, and nonmalignant respiratory conditions contributed significantly to the excess mortality of the heavier drinkers; coronary disease mortality was significantly higher among nondrinkers. Smoking intensity was a possible factor in the increased mortality of heavier drinkers, but the data were also compatible with the hypothesis that smoking and drinking are synergistic in the production of certain cancers and nonmalignant chronic respiratory illness. Other traits associated with alcohol use or abstinence are possible contributors to the excess mortality of both heavy drinkers and nondrinkers.







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