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Changes in the liver cirrhosis death rate during the Prohibition era in the US

Liver cirrhosis is a chronic disease, which occurs when long-term damage and scarring to the liver prevents it from functioning to its full capacity. Although the human liver is the only organ with the capacity to regenerate itself; there is no cure for liver cirrhosis, however the effects of the condition can be slowed and even minimalized by removing the cause of the damage. The most common causes of liver cirrhosis are alcohol abuse and hepatitis. While hepatitis can be combatted with vaccinations and medication, alcohol abuse can be more complicated due to the psychological impact it has on the user. The prevention of alcohol abuse and its side-effects was one of the major aims of the Prohibition movement in the United States in the 1920s, and records show that the number of deaths due to liver cirrhosis decreased greatly during the Prohibition era, and rose again following Prohibition's repeal in 1933. In the early 1900s, the death rate due to cirrhosis of the liver was as high as 14.8 deaths per 100,000 people, however it gradually fell in the wartime Prohibition of the First World War, and then plateaued at half of this level, between 7.1 and 7.5 deaths per 100,000 people, during federal Prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s. After Prohibition was repealed at the end of 1933, deaths due to liver cirrhosis increased again, and by the late 1960s, the rate was consistently double it's Prohibition era level.

Liver cirrhosis death rate change during Prohibition (1920-1933) in the United States from 1900 to 1970

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

1900 to 1970

Supplementary notes

Release date is date of extraction.

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