Moscow: Russian adults who gulp down three bottles of vodka a week heighten their risk of death over the next 20 years, shows research.

Vodka is a major cause of the high risk of premature death in Russian men, said a team of Russian and British scientists.

In three Russian cities – Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk – the researchers interviewed 200,000 adults for 10 years from 1999-2008 and followed them until 2010 for cause-specific mortality.

They asked them about drinking habits and health, and then looked to see who died and when.

Male smokers, who also happened to be the heaviest drinkers, were at greater risk.

Men aged 35 to 54 who drank less than a bottle of vodka a week had a 16 percent percent chance of dying of anything over the next 20 years.

“This rose to 20 percent for men who drank one to three bottles a week and to 35 percent for those who admitted drinking three or more bottles a week,” said David Zaridze of the Russian Cancer Research Centre in Moscow.

“Since 2005, Russian consumption of spirits and male mortality before age 55 years both decreased by about a third but are still substantial,” the researchers said in a report that appeared in the Lancet medical journal.

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