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B. Are People Who Don't Drink In Danger?

Narrator: This is Science Today. To drink or not to drink. That has become the question these days for many abstainers, especially with recent reports indicating people who don't drink are at greater risk for early death. But Kaye Fillmore, a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, says these studies don't often take everything into consideration.

Fillmore: For example in the United States, abstainers are collectively, a rather different group of people than light drinkers. They tend to be of lower, socio-economic class, they tend to be in poorer health. In some cases, they tend to smoke, which puts them at higher mortality risk.

Narrator: Because of these traits, Fillmore says it's not surprising abstainers were found at greater risk for early death.

Fillmore: We need more in depth, scholarly work on this matter and the kind of studies that are designed need to be a little bit more pristine than those we've been doing in the past.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.