Kremlin cracks down on 'national disaster' vodka

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Moscow, Sep. 29 (ANI): The Kremlin has launched a campaign to curb excessive drinking, especially of vodka, which it says is wreaking the country.

According to a report in The Scotsman, Russians could soon find it harder to buy alcohol, and pay more for a bottle of the national drink, vodka, if the Kremlin gets its way.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is leading the campaign, calling alcohol consumption in Russia a "national disaster".

Under tough anti-drinking proposals listed on the Kremlin's website the sale of alcohol from thousands of kiosks across the country would be outlawed, while at the same time the state would impose a minimum price on vodka, which still accounts for 56 per cent of alcohol sales.

New laws would ban the sale of alcohol to anybody under 21, and require cans to carry large health warnings.

Figures from the Russian health ministry show that consumption of alcohol in Russia has soared to 18 litres per person per year, more than double the amount the World Health Organisation says is safe.

Male life expectancy has fallen to just 60, and an estimated 30,000 people die from alcohol poisoning each year.

Russian Health Minister Tatyana Golikova hopes the harsh measures would reduce consumption to 14 litres per head by 2012. (ANI)

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