Russia might be on the way to lose its reputation as a nation of heavy alcohol drinkers.
A recent report published by the World Health Organization suggests that alcohol consumption in the country has plunged by 43% since the year 2003. WHO cites alcohol restrictions implemented under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government as the reason behind the drop in numbers.
Restrictions include limits imposed on alcohol sales to promote healthy living amongst Russia’s citizens, as per The Guardian. The United Nations agency says in the report that alcohol consumption was a substantial cause of the country’s death toll back in the 1990s.
“The Russian Federation has long been considered one of the heaviest drinking countries in the world. However, in recent years these trends have been reversed,” the report says, which was published on Tuesday. WHO’s study suggested that alcohol consumption dropped per capita from the years 2003 to 2016. The 43% plunge was reportedly driven by a sharp decline in the consumption of smuggled spirits.
Authors of the study write that the decline acts as a substantial factor in Russian citizen’s increased life expectancies. The numbers reached a record-breaking peak last year with average life expectancy in females recorded as 78 years and 68 years for males. Back in the early years of the 1990s, the life expectancy of male Russians was just 57 years.
President Putin’s government alcohol curbing measures included a ban on liquor stores after 11 PM, an increase in the minimum retail price of alcohol and a blackout on advertising spirits. The new restrictions proved effective as per the report.