Ukraine has experienced a long-term decline in life expectancy since the late 1960s. While spectacular improvement in longevity has been observed in Western countries, the trend in Ukraine has been accompanied by increasing or stagnating mortality. Although many studies indicate that alcohol is one of the leading contributors to low life expectancy in Eastern Europe, little is known about its impact on premature mortality in Ukraine. The aim of this study is to estimate alcohol-attributable deaths at working ages (20-64) in Ukraine. We investigate the contribution of alcohol to adult mortality between 1980 and 2007 using a new method for estimating alcohol-attributable fractions by causes of death. We also assess the public health burden of alcohol in terms of length of life losses. We find that in 2007 alcohol-related deaths constituted 40% and 22% of all deaths among adult men and women, respectively. The results also indicate that alcohol-related deaths at working ages account for approximately one-third of the male and one-fifth of the female life expectancy difference between Ukraine and western countries. Alcohol is an important public health threat in Ukraine and should be addressed by relevant measures.
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