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Heavy-drinking Estonians

Living a liquid death When the average Estonian consumes nearly 15 liters of pure alcohol a year—three times the EU average—that’s cause for worry. Economic worry. If alcoholism is not dealt with, says Dr. Enno Kross, the state budget won’t be able to cope with the consequences.
Estonian medical experts and those active in promoting life without alcohol believe the state needs to limit the availability of alcohol. Professor Arvo Tikk of the University of Tartu’s neurology clinic estimates consumption of alcohol causes annual damages (crime, missed work, health disorders) worth ten billion kroons—yet only two billion kroons are received in the budget from the excise tax on alcohol. Every year, nearly 2,000 people die in Estonia as the result of alcohol.

So far, few are calling for prohibition, but many are calling for higher taxes, a ban on night-time sales, and banning alcohol advertising. These measures have not found support in parliament.