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Subject: Russians urged to drink and smoke more

Written By: Philip Eno on 09/04/10 at 5:35 am

Russia's finance minister has urged his countrymen and women to support the country - by drinking and smoking more.

Alexei Kudrin called for increased consumption of tobacco and alcohol in a bid to boost the state's revenues, reports Metro.

"If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems," commented Kudrin.

"People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state."

Russia, noted for its high consumptions of both cigarettes and alcohol, has among the lowest duties on cigarettes in Europe.

In June, plans to double the excise duty on cigarettes from 250 roubles, roughly £5 per 1,000 cigarettes, to 590 roubles (£12.49) by 2013 were outlined.

The comments by the minister seem to contradict recent government moves to control Russia's excessive nature and improve its life expectancy rates.

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