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Alcohol Consumption in Russia Has Dropped By A Whopping 43 Percent

Russia may have been the unofficial home of the heavy drinkers for decades, but a new report has found alcohol consumption has dropped a huge 43 percent since 2003.

The World Health Organisation released the findings on Wednesday, attributing the steep decline to a series of alcohol-control measures such as increased taxes and a ban on sales after 11 pm, as well as a push towards a healthy lifestyle.

A big portion of the drop appears to be related to a decrease in homemade brews.

“The dramatic decline in consumption of homemade, smuggled or illegally produced alcohol in the Russian Federation is attributable to the government’s adoption of evidence-based alcohol control policies," Carina Ferreira-Borges from WHO said.

With the drop in drinking has come a substantial fall in the death rate -- 39 percent in men and 38 percent in women.

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In fact, life expectancy in Russia hit an all-time high in 2018 with women now expected to live to 78 and men to 68. In comparison, life expectancy in Australia is sitting at roughly 82 years.

In the early 1990s, the life expectancy of Russian males was just 57 years.

Russian cities hosting 2018 FIFA World Cup matches were banned from selling alcoholic drinks on the eve and on the days of the matches Photo: Dmitry Rogulin\TASS via Getty Images

While consumption has dropped, Russians still consume the equivalent of 11-12 litres worth of pure ethanol each year, among the highest in the world, the WHO report states.

"These results show that measures such as the introduction of monitoring systems, price increases and limited alcohol availability work to save lives and health system costs," Ferreira-Borges said.

"I trust that other countries in Europe will adopt similar policies to protect people’s health," she concluded.

Moscow has now taken  aim at smokers, announcing a ban on lighting up even on private balconies.

Photo: Getty Images

Russia isn't the only country that has seen a drop in alcohol consumption.

Statistics show a steady decline in the amount Australians drink over the past three decades.

Just under 10 litres of pure alcohol was consumed for each person aged 15 years and over in 2018, the equivalent of two standard drinks per day.