Around 2.6 million annual deaths are due to alcohol consumption, according to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The study showed that 4.7% of all deaths are attributable to the consumption of alcohol, using data from 2019. It added two million alcohol-related deaths were among men.

According to the WHO, an estimated 400 million people lived with alcohol and drug use disorders globally. Of this, 209 million people lived with alcohol dependence.

Despite some reduction in alcohol-related death rates since 2010, the overall number of deaths due to alcohol consumption remains “unacceptably high”, the WHO said. The highest numbers came from the European and African regions.

Of all deaths attributable to alcohol in 2019, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were from noncommunicable diseases, including 474,000 deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 401,000 from cancer.

Around 724,000 deaths were due to injuries, such as those from “traffic crashes, self-harm and interpersonal violence”, according to the health agency. Another 284,000 deaths were linked to communicable diseases.

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The highest proportion (13%) of alcohol-attributable deaths in 2019 were among young people aged 20- to 39 years-old.

“Substance use severely harms individual health, increasing the risk of chronic diseases, mental health conditions, and tragically resulting in millions of preventable deaths every year. It places a heavy burden on families and communities, increasing exposure to accidents, injuries, and violence,” WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“To build a healthier, more equitable society, we must urgently commit to bold actions that reduce the negative health and social consequences of alcohol consumption and make treatment for substance use disorders accessible and affordable.”

Total alcohol per capita consumption in the world decreased slightly from 5.7 litres in 2010 to 5.5 litres in 2019. The level of alcohol consumption per capita among drinkers amounts on average to 27 grams of pure alcohol per day, roughly equivalent to two glasses of wine, two bottles of beer or two servings of spirits.

Globally, 23.5% of all 15- to 19-year-olds were drinkers, according to the report. Rates of drinking among the cohort were highest in the European region (45.9%) followed by the Americas (43.9%).

Earlier this month, the WHO listed ultra-processed foods (UPFs) and alcohol among four products that cause 19 million deaths per year globally.