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Russian Alcohol Consumption Falls 80% in 5 Years, Says Minister

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Russia’s health minister has said that Russians consume 80 percent less alcohol than they did five years ago, amid a decrease in smoking levels and an increase in the number of people who do sports. 

The latest World Health Organization figures put Russia’s alcohol consumption below that of France and Germany.

“We have managed to reduce the consumption of alcoholic beverages per capita by 80 percent [in 5 years],” the Kommersant business daily cited Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova as saying Tuesday. 

Official statistics show average alcohol consumption in Russia plummeting by a third between 2009 and 2016. Consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor credits new minimum price laws, advertising bans and sales restrictions for the drop. 

Some 40 percent more Russians have become involved in sports over the same period, Skvortsova was cited as saying at a business lunch ahead of the annual Gaidar Forum. 

Smoking has also gone down in Russia over the past five years, with 22 percent fewer adults taking part in the habit and a threefold decrease in smoking among minors, she added.

“Looking back at the past 5-7 years, we managed to partially overcome bad habits like smoking thanks to a progressive law against tobacco smoking,” Russia’s chief health official said.

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