The number of men dying as a result of alcohol – mostly liver disease – increased in 2010. The number of deaths among women fell.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that a total of 8,790 people died of alcohol-related causes in 2010, 126 more than in 2009. The number of deaths among men rose from 5,690 in 2009 to 5,865 in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available.
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major, but preventable, cause of premature death, accounting for almost 1.5 per cent of all lives lost in England and Wales in 2010. In 2008 the Department of Health estimated that alcohol abuse cost the NHS £2.7bn a year.
Liver disease accounted for nearly two-thirds of all alcohol-related deaths in 2010. Deaths caused by alcohol over the last decade were highest for those aged 55 to 74 and lowest for those aged under 35.
Death rates were 22.6 per 100,000 people in the North-east, 21.3 per 100,000 in the North-west and 18.9 per 100,000 in Wales. They were lowest in the East of England.
Alcohol consumption has fallen since 2002, but "it is likely to take a number of years for any reduction in alcohol-related deaths to become apparent as diseases associated with excessive alcohol consumption are often slow to develop," the ONS said.
Other figures showed there were 5,608 suicides in the UK in 2010, 67 fewer than in 2009. Three-quarters of these were men. The highest suicide rates were in those aged 45 to 74.