Tuesday, August 31, 2010
This, it seems, is news you can use (emphasis added):
One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don't drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do. The standard Alcoholics Anonymous explanation for this finding is that many of those who show up as abstainers in such research are actually former hard-core drunks who had already incurred health problems associated with drinking.
But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that for reasons that aren't entirely clear abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers...
[E]ven after controlling for nearly all imaginable variables — socioeconomic status, level of physical activity, number of close friends, quality of social support and so on — the researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of the University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.
We moderate-to-heavy drinkers will try not to lord our superior longevity over the rest of you.
CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.
The next question is, what do the abstainers die of? Is there a big excess for one disease, or is it across the board?
I drink very little, because alcohol makes me depressed. Also, alcoholic drinks are hideously expensive in the UK, because of the high level of tax.
But how much of that drinking is triggered by failed or failing marriage, rather than vice versa? I know one poor man who was driven to alcoholism by his evil bitch harpy of a wife, the divorce, and said harpy's efforts to teach the children to hate their father.
He has since mostly recovered, for anyone feeling concern.
Evidently, prior the the 1920s and prohibition, taxes on liquor were the primary source of income for the federal government. With prohibition, they had to institute an income tax to compensate for the lost revenues from liquor. When prohibition went away, amazingly the income tax did not, but was added to the reinstated liquor tax to expand government.
Perhaps we should drink more if it means we can get rid of the income tax. (Like that would ever happen.)