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The association between alcohol consumption and 15 year mortality was studied in a cohort of 49 464 Swedish conscripts, mostly aged 18-19. A strong association was found. The relative risk of death among conscripts with a high consumption of alcohol (>250 g/week) was 3.0 (95% confidence interval (2.3 to 4.1) compared with those with moderate consumption (1-100 g/week). After adjustment for social background variables the relative risk was reduced to 2.1 (95% confidence interval 1.4 to 3.2). Among causes of death a strong predominance was found for violent death, suicide or probable suicide being the leading single cause and accounting for 236 (36%) of all deaths. The reported U shaped curve for total mortality was not confirmed, though when violent deaths were excluded a U shaped curve was suggested for other causes of death.
These findings provide important epidemiological data on the drinking habits of young people and the consequences for mortality.