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Russian agency draws up blueprint for reducing alcohol consumption

Moscow, 10 November: The Russian Federal Service for Regulating the Alcohol Market (Rosalkogolregulirovaniye) hopes that the illegal alcohol market in Russia may be liquidated by 2015 as a result of taking measures outlined in the concept of the state policy on combating the spread of alcoholism among the population, the service's materials suggest.

The state policy concept on "reducing the scale of alcohol abuse and preventing alcoholism in the population of the Russian Federation for the period until 2015" has been developed by Rosalkogolregulirovaniye in accordance with the instructions of the Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev and the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the service's statement said.

It is planned that the concept implementation at the first stage (2010-2012) will result in reducing the level of premature mortality linked to alcohol abuse, of the consumption of strong drinks in the alcohol consumption structure against the background of general reduction of its consumption and in reducing the number of alcoholics.

In this period it is planned to make considerable amendments to the law, in particular, to raise the responsibility for selling alcohol to underage persons, to raise an excise tax for ethyl alcohol and its products, to fix minimum retail prices for alcohol with provision for indexation and others.

At the first stage, the Russian constituent regions are to develop regional programmes aimed at reducing the alcohol consumption and preventing alcoholism. The key priority of the second stage is the implementation of the programme forming traditions of a healthy lifestyle and the development of sports and physical culture, the concept says.

It is planned that as a result of the implementation of the second stage, the illegal alcohol market will be liquidated, alcohol consumption per capita brought below the level determined by the World Health Organization (eight litres of pure alcohol per capita a year) and the alcohol consumption by young people, including beer, considerably reduced.

(In a later report RIA Novosti said quoting the Russian Health Ministry that the current alcohol consumption in Russia is 18 litres per capita a year.)

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