Almost a fifth of working years of life lost in England in 2018 were due to alcohol consumption – far more than the number of years lost to cancer.
Public Health England (PHE) statistics show that in 2018, there were an estimated 178,933 working years lost due to alcohol in England which amounts to 18% of the total working years lost, which stands at just over 1 million (1,005,868).
That is the highest number recorded since 2011.
Statisticians looked at potential working years of life lost for individuals who died before the age of 65 years.
They put their premise on the fact that the younger the person who dies is, the more they individually contribute, as there are more working years of life lost. The report shows that those aged just 45 to 54 contributed the most, with a total of 57,558 working years of life lost in 2018, closely followed by the 35-44 age group who contributed 47,243 working years of life lost.
The statistics also reveal that liver disease – 60% of which is caused by alcohol – is now the leading cause of death in those aged between 35-49 years old.
Premature deaths from liver disease due to alcohol consumption led to nearly 50,000 working years of life lost in 2018.
Public Health England have also revealed that working years lost to alcohol are far greater than the total combined working years lost to the 10 leading causes of cancer death in 2018.
Nuno Albuquerque, Head of Treatment at alcohol addiction treatment experts UKAT, said that alcohol-related deaths often occur at relatively young ages, and so it is important to consider the wider impact alcohol has on both the individual and society.
Albuquerque said: “Reports like this one are instrumental in our understanding of the problem, but most importantly, in using the information to instigate positive change. But where is the Government’s commitment to tackling alcohol abuse in this country? Why are our leaders continuing to bury their heads in the sand about how impactful alcohol is?
“These figures clearly show that more and more potential working years of life in this country are lost to alcohol, even more so than the ten leading cancers combined. Our working economy is being killed off by alcohol – a substance so socially embedded and accepted, yet so dangerous and addictive.”