Estonia is facing a sharp decline in alcohol consumption because of its economic crisis and a restriction on sales, reveals information.
Consumption in this nation of 1.3 million fell in 2009 to a five-year low of 10.16 litres of pure alcohol per head, the Estonian Institute of Economic Research said.
AdvertisementIn 2007, when the Estonian economy was still booming, consumption had been 12.6 litres per head.
Estonia, a former Soviet-ruled republic which joined the European Union in 2004, has lost its reputation as a "tiger" after its economy shrank by 14.1 percent last year.
It is now recovering, however, with the government forecasting that output will grow by 1.0 percent this year.
While cash-strapped Estonians have been buying less alcohol, other factors also appear to have dented consumption.
The country beefed up its rules in 2008, barring alcohol sales between 10:00 pm and 10:00 am.
"Estonia long had a very liberal alcohol policy, but the steps taken by authorities in recent years are finally showing good results," Marje Josing, head of the research institute, told reporters.
Illnesses caused by alcohol declined by 20 percent and deaths by 35 percent from 2007 to 2009, she noted. The number of road deaths involving drunk-driving fell from 79 to 28 over the same period.
But the report also highlighted the problem of bootleg booze, noting that in 2009 illegal alcohol accounted for up to 19 percent of the vodka market, almost double the 2007 level.
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