GENEVA, May 12 – Alcohol kills 3.3 million people worldwide each year, more than AIDS, tuberculosis and violence combined, the World Health Organization said Monday, warning that booze consumption was on the rise.
Including drink driving, alcohol-induced violence and abuse, and a multitude of diseases and disorders, alcohol causes one in 20 deaths globally every year, the UN health agency said.
“This actually translates into one death every 10 seconds,” Shekhar Saxena, who heads the WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse department, told reporters in Geneva.
Alcohol caused some 3.3 million deaths in 2012, WHO said, equivalent to 5.9 percent of global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women). READ: Two arrested as toxic brew toll hits 83.
In comparison, HIV/AIDS is responsible for 2.8 percent, tuberculosis causes 1.7 percent of deaths and violence is responsible for just 0.9 percent, the study showed.
More people in countries where alcohol consumption has traditionally been low, like China and India, are also increasingly taking up the habit as their wealth increases, it said.
“More needs to be done to protect populations from the negative health consequences of alcohol consumption,” Oleg Chestnov of the WHO’s Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health unit said in a statement launching a massive report on global alcohol consumption and its impact on public health.
Drinking is linked to more than 200 health conditions, including liver cirrhosis and some cancers. Alcohol abuse also makes people more susceptible to infectious diseases like tuberculosis, HIV and pneumonia, the report found.
Most deaths attributed to alcohol, around a third, are caused by associated cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Alcohol-related accidents, such as car crashes, were the second-highest killer, accounting for around 17.1 percent of all alcohol-related deaths.