Put down that shot glass! - Macleans.ca

Put down that shot glass!

Russian president to crack down on vodka consumption


Russia holds the dubious distinction of being the world leader in alcohol consumption. Vodka, in particular, is a mainstay of life in the country. But Russian president Dmitri Medvedev says his country’s binge-drinkers have gone too far. The president is working on a series of measures that he hopes will limit excess consumption in his country—like banning the sale of beer at kiosks, outlawing large beer containers, and tightening controls on the vodka market. The average Russian consumes 4.75 gallons of pure alcohol annually (compared with 2.3 gallons for the average American). Life expectancy for Russian men hovers around 60 years old, in large part because of alcoholism, and the Public Chamber, a panel which advises the Kremlin, says that about 500,000 Russians die annually from causes directly related to alcohol. Restrictions on alcohol are not without precedent. In the 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev ordered vodka removed from store shelves. The program proved to be a success, increasing life expectancy among Russians, but it was ended after a severe public backlash.

New York Times

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