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Hard-Working Brits Leave Europe Behind

EUROSTAT'S NEW STATISTICS RELEASED - ANOTHER BLOW IN THE FACE OF ANTISMOKERS

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Hard-Working Brits Leave Europe Behind

The British work hardest, the Luxembourgers drink the most, the Greeks smoke like chimneys and the Swedes live the longest - if they don't commit suicide first.

These are the findings in a cradle-to-grave pre-millennium survey of the lives and times of Europe's citizens.

The 500-page dossier details everything from the worst drivers to the highest birth rate and the message is clear - you can harmonise most things in the EU but you can never harmonise people's habits and behaviour.

Europe's national quirks and traits are safe from the Eurocrats, the figures show, with lifestyles as different as chalk and cheese from one end of the EU to the other. The EU's Luxembourg-based Eurostat office report draws no conclusions. It just sets out who lives how in the last decade of the century.

It shows that life expectancy for women in the EU still comfortably outstrips that for men - 80.5 years compared with 74 years on average - and while the longest-living men are Swedish (76.5), the longest-living women are French (81.9).

Lowest life expectancy is for Portuguese men (71 years), with Britons around the EU average at 74.4 years for men and 79.3 for women. Irish men can expect to last 73.2 years on average, compared with 78.5 years for Irish women.

Life expectancy in Greece is above average even though the Greeks are by far the heaviest smokers, consuming 3,012 cigarettes per person a year compared with an EU average of 1,741 and a low in Sweden of 992. The UK puffs its way through 1,536 per person, with the Irish smoking 1,730.

Portugal's low life expectancy rate for men may be explained by their bad driving: 37.9 Portuguese males die annually per 100,000 men in the country, by far the worst driving record. In Ireland the figure of 16.6 is a little below the EU average of 18.1 but still way above the UK figure of 8.9 and the Swedes at 8.7.

The biggest drinkers are the Luxembourgers, consuming the equivalent of 15.3 litres of pure alcohol each in a year if the nation's intake is spread amongst the whole population.

The Irish at 11.2 litre per head drink less than the French, Portuguese, Germans, Austrians, Spanish and Belgians, leaving the British glaringly sober at 9.3 litres, and the Swedes once again the most abstemious nation in the EU at 6.5 litres. Help
Later Story: Workers evacuated in N.Irish bomb alert (Reuters)
Earlier Story: 'Oxygen Risk' To Babies On Flights (PA)
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