Russians stopped drinking vodka

The World Health Organization recorded a sharp decline in alcohol consumption in Russia. Officials of the Ministry of Health rushed to declare this as their merit.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Russians have become less likely to drink alcohol - both industrial and manufactured at home. The main factor of decline, according to experts, is the competent policy of the Russian Ministry of Health - the restriction of time and places for the sale of alcoholic beverages, their advertising in the media. The practice of the Russian Federation, according to WHO, could in future become an example for many other countries with similar problems.

According to the WHO, Russia can become an example for many other European countries in implementing policies to reduce alcohol consumption. "Reducing the consumption of alcoholic beverages, which occurred in Russia in recent years, is one of the most important results for us in this region. In the future, we would like to make the experience of the Russian Federation available to other countries with similar challenges, "Karina Ferreira-Borges, head of the" Alcohol and Illicit Drugs "program of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, told Kommersant.

So, according to WHO, in 2016 the level of alcohol consumption in Russia was 11.1 liters of alcohol per person per year. This is at least 27 years (in 1991 - 12.2, peak consumption, according to WHO, fell in 2006 - 17.1 liters). Note that the WHO statistics includes data on both official sales and production (registered consumption), as well as domestic, unofficially (legally or illegally) produced and smuggled alcoholic beverages, as well as statistics on alcohol surrogates. Such a decrease, according to the WHO expert, is the result of a competent anti-alcohol policy.

Recall, the first measures to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages in Russia appeared in 2005, then their number grew almost every year. Their main goals were to limit the availability of both alcohol and information about it, as well as tougher penalties for drunk driving. "The most effective ones are raising the price of alcoholic beverages, limiting the availability of alcohol by, for example, raising the minimum age for officially authorized alcohol consumption or restricting sales in certain places or at certain times of the day, as well as reducing the impact of advertising," says Ms. Ferreira -Bourgeois. In her opinion, the economic effectiveness of these measures is also important: they do not require large financing from the budget, on the contrary, they themselves bring revenue to the state. "There are other effective measures to reduce alcohol consumption, but their implementation requires a lot of effort and effort: for example, the introduction and strict implementation of effective measures to control drunk driving," the expert notes.

In the future, Russian health professionals could pay more attention to screening, examinations and short-term interventions within the health care system to help people who abuse alcohol. "It is important to include questions about alcohol use in the list set by the doctor during the initial examination in polyclinics, similar to those now asked about smoking," notes Mrs. Ferreira-Borges. Also, she said, it is important to pay attention to all aspects of alcohol consumption - for example, through the application of an intersectoral approach to the problem of road traffic injuries associated with alcohol. "This was the focus of our recent training course, conducted in partnership with the First Moscow State Medical University named after Sechenov in Moscow. It was devoted to improving the skills of representatives of various departments that regulate the problem of alcohol and road traffic injuries, "she noted.

The Russian government, apparently, plans to continue the fight against alcohol consumption: the Ministry of Health has already called one of its priorities in 2018 the spread among Russians a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including by limiting the availability of alcoholic beverages. Similar proposals aimed at further limiting the time of sales and increasing the price per liter of alcohol were developed by experts of the Center for Strategic Research Alexei Kudrin.

Market experts doubt WHO data

According to Vadim Drobiz, director of the Center for Studies of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, alcohol consumption in Russia has not changed over the past few years. "According to my information - and I am collecting statistics of legal and illegal production in the last 20 years - now one Russian a year accounts for 12 liters of alcohol, as in 2008. In the Russian Federation, there is no reason to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages, for example, this may occur against the background of improving the quality of life, but we are in recent years more likely in the economic crisis, "he said.

According to Dmitry Dobrov, chairman of the board of the Union of Alcohol Producers, although WHO data correctly reflect the overall dynamics of decline, specific consumption figures may be unreliable due to the difficulties in collecting statistics. "We know for certain that the legal segment of the alcohol market is growing because of the replacement of the illegal market, and not because of the increase in total consumption, we know that the population drinks less strong drinks, but more wine and beer, but to assess the whole picture of alcohol consumption in the country it's very difficult, "he says.