A warm winter in Russia has seen deaths from alcohol poisoning fall after drinkers ditched vodka, according to experts.
Just over 600 people died from alcohol poisoning in January, a 37 per cent drop compared to the same month last year.
Average temperatures in Moscow in the winter just gone were around 42.8 – more than 20F higher than usual.
There is a direct correlation between an increase in temperatures and a decline in drinking spirits, according to the head of Russia’s consumer protection union.
Pavel Shapkin told the Moscow Times: ‘As a result, the negative effects of alcohol consumption have dramatically decreased.’
The most recent winter in Russia was the warmest since records began in 1891, according to state meteorologists.
Mr Shapkin’s union previously reported a slight decline in vodka sales between 2019 and 2018.
In Moscow, the average winter temperature was above freezing for the first time.
Conditions were so out of the ordinary that officials had to import snow for New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Moscow winter temperatures are normally around 21.2 (-6C).
And although alcoholism is still a huge problem in Russia, vodka consumption has declined by 43 per cent since 2003, according to the World Health Organisation.
Factors including restrictions on alcohol sales, higher taxes and a promotion of a healthy lifestyle by teetoal president Vladimir Putin were all reasons behind the decline, the WHO said.
By contrast, former leader Boris Yeltsin was regularly seen drunk in public.
During a visit to Ireland, Yeltsin was so drunk that he could not get off his plane.