The New York Times article on vodka consumption in Russia was great. I even loved this picture that accompanied the article. Check out that nurse. Something about her hair just screams fetish.
Some stats from the article:
- Russians consume roughly 4.75 gallons of pure alcohol a person annually.
- Life expectancy for Russian men is now 60 years, in part because of alcoholism.
- alcohol was the cause of more than half of all deaths of people ages 15
to 54, often from accidents, violence or alcohol poisoning
Russia is trying to figure out ways to curb vodka consumption in their country, but has been unsuccessful, because of the cultural attachment to the clear liquor. Some think that they would have to substantially raise the price of vodka to lead to a change in behavior. This would be a great case study for a public policy class.
Ezra Klein discussed the difficulties in creating public policy that would change American eating habits. While policy was able to deal with smoking habits, he is pessimistic that policy can be created to get people to stop eating their Cocoa Krispies.
Basic steps could be put in place. For example, food manufacturers should be stopped from making false claims about their product. They were recently forced to stop claiming that their cereal would boost immunity and stop Swine Flu. How about warning labels on Pop Tarts?