While governments in the West worry about reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption and their related deaths, our Russian comrades have a different message for their people: Smoke and drink more! As the country plans to raise excise taxes on booze and double those on cigarettes over the next three years, “People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state," announced Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin today.
This is interesting advice given that, statistically, consumption is already excessive. Two out of every 3 men smoke, and on average each citizen consumes nearly 5 gallons of booze, mainly vodka, annually. This abuse leads to approximately 500,000 deaths per year and has significantly affected male life expectancy, which is currently lower than that of several developing nations. Read the full article at the Toronto Star. (Read more Russia stories.)