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October 14, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXIII(16):988-989. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450680056013

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There has been going the rounds of the lay press a paragraph purporting to give the results of an inquiry made by the British Medical Association as to the longevity of total abstainers as compared with that of habitual drunkards, free and careless drinkers and the habitually temperate, understanding by the latter those who used alcohol only in moderation. The statistics given represent, it is stated, the analysis of 4234 deaths, and the longevity of the total abstainers is the lowest on the list. The item is passed around as a nut for the temperance people to crack, as an evidence of the harmlessness of alcohol and, inferentially, of the dangers of total abstinence. Appearing just at this time, after the meeting of the British Medical Association, the average reader is led to suppose that the statistics are recent and the official statement of the findings by a committee, or

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