The Russian city of Moscow has implemented a blanket ban on large food-drink containers that could be drunk in public, as a result of the increasing number of people who are now dying in their own homes from alcohol-related diseases.
The regulation, which is in place until the end of March 2019, will prohibit all containers larger than 5.2 x 4.5 centimeters, which will likely affect the popularity of alcoholic beverages such as bottled beer and wine. The ban is only applicable to food and drink available in bars and restaurants and isn’t expected to affect users of vending machines.
Konstantin Zatulin, a Russian lawmaker, defended the move on the grounds that “alcohol products must be handed out only in closed containers,” and added that the ban also goes toward deterring alcoholic beverages from getting into the hands of children.
The drinkable ban came into effect on Thursday following the tragic death of 18-year-old Irina Korobanov, who threw herself under a train in a last-ditch attempt to prevent her boyfriend from consuming a bottle of vodka. Korobanov is believed to have consumed alcohol for more than 14 years without getting into any serious trouble with the law.
If the ban is enforced, it will be the first time in Moscow’s history that such drastic measures are used to contain alcohol-related diseases. There have been various attempts to curb alcohol consumption through the years, including more restrictive tax policies and advertising restrictions, but this has had little effect on consumption. Alcohol-related diseases have long plagued the Russian people. While Russia was once considered a source of traditional Russian culture, the country is now estimated to have one of the highest rates of heavy drinking in the world.
Russia’s devastating public health crisis is in part fueled by a people that is as rowdy as anywhere else. Many Russians are incredibly laid-back and head-on in their behavior, to the point where it’s very easy to lose control of oneself. Police statistics show that approximately 30 percent of Russian men and women between the ages of 20 and 39 have consumed alcohol at some point in their lives, with the majority of men consuming it three or more times per week.
In a high-profile, fatal case, a former professional shooter was found to have nearly quadrupled his alcohol consumption level from two small cans of vodka to eight cans, and died in a garage.
In order to cope with the high incidence of alcohol-related diseases, some cities have been spending time and money on putting up high-tech art installations. One project in Avarsky in Russia’s Siberia region gives fencers a means to consume alcohol in a non-intoxicating environment, though there have been reports of cheap alcohol being smuggled in to Avarsky by Russians who are well aware of the dangers.
Russian obesity is another serious issue that threatens the health of its citizens. According to CNN, Russia is the fifth-largest source of obese people in the world and there have been public health efforts aimed at curbing the trend, but most remain unacceptably high. According to research released in 2016, obesity in Russia has doubled over the past 10 years.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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