Alcohol consumption in Russia decreased by 43% from 2003 to 2016, a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed.
This trend mirrored a drop in all-cause mortality by 39% in men and 36% in women between 2003 and 2018, with the sharpest decline in causes of death linked to alcohol consumption.
According to the WHO, this helped average life expectancy in Russia reach a historic high in 2018, at almost 68 years for men and 78 years for women.
“The dramatic decline in consumption of homemade, smuggled or illegally produced alcohol in the Russian Federation is attributable to the government’s adoption of evidence-based alcohol control policies,” said Carina Ferreira-Borges, programme manager, alcohol and illicit drugs, WHO/Europe.
“These results show that measures such as the introduction of monitoring systems, price increases and limited alcohol availability work to save lives and health system costs.”
In recent years, Russia’s government has gradually raised excise taxes on alcohol and introduced a minimum unit price policy on vodka.
A comprehensive night ban on off-premises sales of alcohol nationally has also been implemented, with even stricter restrictions on alcohol availability in some regions, as well as policies on alcohol-free public space and alcohol marketing.
Dr Bente Mikkelse, of the WHO, added: “Evidence-based policy interventions, such as those put in place in the Russian Federation, also work to reduce the burden of illness and death from noncommunicable diseases, which can be a game-changer in achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3.4 to reduce premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases by 33% by 2030.”
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