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Putin gives advice to fight against alcoholism

Hard or soft bans are not the way to help people with alcohol problems kick the habit, Russian president says

The government should promote healthy alternatives to excessive alcohol consumption rather than adopting restrictive policies, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“You can’t ban it or impose excessively high excise duties to raise prices,” the Russian leader said in a video meeting with a Russian governor on Wednesday, adding that ignoring the issue and saying “people drink and they always will” is also the wrong approach.

There are “Simple Things” this can be done to effectively address the problem, Putin suggested, including promoting better lifestyles and providing healthier alternative ways for people to spend their free time.

“I’m not saying anything new here, but still. Promoting a healthy lifestyle is very important. But it’s not enough. We need a developed infrastructure for sport and physical training,” noted the president.

“And the culture at large needs attention. Create the conditions for people to move around, foster their interest in culture,” he added.

READ MORE: Liquor makers to sell their operations in Russia

The issue arose when the president told Aleksandr Avdeev, governor of the central Vladimir region, that the alcoholism rate in his constituency was twice the national average.

Alcohol abuse has a long history in Russia, and for centuries taxing vodka and other spirits has been an easy way for the government to fill its coffers. However, domestic consumption has dropped significantly over the past decade, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A 2021 report from the European office of the WHO’s SAFER initiative, aimed at tackling alcohol abuse, indicates that between 2010 and 2016, Russia saw a 26.1% drop in consumption per capita, compared to an average decline of 12.5% ​​in the region.

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