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The health burden related to excessive alcohol consumption, both in terms of morbidity and mortality, is considerable in most parts of the world (Rehm et al., 2009; WHO, 2004a). High alcohol intake is associated with numerous harmful
health and social consequences, such as increased risk of heart, stroke and vascular diseases, as well as liver cirrhosis and certain cancers. Foetal exposure to alcohol increases the risk of birth defects and intellectual impairments. Alcohol also contributes
to death and disability through accidents and injuries, assault, violence, homicide and suicide, and is estimated to cause more than 2 million deaths worldwide per year. In the Russian Federation, the sharp rise in premature mortality and decline in life
expectancy during the 1990s was due, in part, to excessive alcohol consumption (WHO, 2004a). It is, however, one of the major avoidable risk factors for disease.