A draft bill introduced in the lower house of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, on Friday proposes to increase the legal drinking age in the country from the current 18 to 21 years to combat the country’s rampant alcoholism problem.
“Sociological and psychological studies show that a teenager at 18 is incapable of a conscious decision on alcohol use,” said the bill’s author, Anton Belyakov, a lawmaker with the opposition A Just Russia party.
No timeframe for the bill’s proceedings was announced on Friday. The ruling United Russia did not comment on Belyakov’s initiative.
Per capita consumption of alcohol in Russia stands at 17 liters of pure ethanol a year, compared to the maximum of eight liters recommended by the World Health Organization, Belyakov said.
Seventy-six percent of Russians drink regularly, Belyakov said. Alcohol kills 75,000 people a year directly, and many more die of related health problems, he added.
Russians start drinking at the average age of 14, Belyakov said. He did not elaborate on whether the increase of the age limit would be effective in preventing teenagers from simply ignoring the legal drinking age.