How many working years of life are lost in England due to alcohol?

  • Public Health England
  • 17 Jul 2020

  • curated by Priscilla Lynch
  • UK Medical News
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Almost a fifth of the working years of life lost in England in 2018 were due to alcohol consumption, the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows.

Mortality data for 2018 from the Office for National Statistics was used to calculate the potential working years of life lost for individuals who died before the age of 65 years.

In 2018, there were over one million (1,005,868) working years of life lost in England, and 18 per cent of these (178,933 years) were attributed to alcohol consumption. This is the highest number of working years of life lost due to alcohol since 2011 (178,585).

Premature deaths from liver disease due to alcohol consumption led to nearly 50,000 working years of life lost in 2018, whereas intentional self-harm and accidental self-poisoning were among the other main alcohol-related causes.

Considering the 10 leading causes of cancer death in 2018 and their associated working years of life lost, it was observed in the PHE report that 10 cancer types combined led to 136,559 working years lost in England; around 40,000 years fewer than the estimated years lost due to alcohol.

However, PHE said it is important to note that cancers of the colon, rectum, anus, breast, oesophagus and liver have an alcohol-attributable component.

In 2018, the age group 45-54 years contributed the most with a total of 57,558 working years of life lost, closely followed by the 35-44 years age group who contributed 47,243 working years of life lost.

Men (131,403) had almost three times more working years of life lost than women (47,530) due to alcohol consumption.

When considered by deprivation decile, the most deprived decile (34,697) had over three times more working years of life lost than the least deprived decile (8748).