Latvian Health Platform: 1% smoke and use alcohol in 2065

Health Minister Guntis Belevics (Greens/Farmers) intends to use the Health Ministry’s Latvian Health Platform to reduce the percentage of the population who smoke and (ab)use alcohol or drugs to 1% by 2065, reports LETA.

During today’s press conference, Belevics told media representatives that by 2065 he will make sure the average lifespan in Latvia be 90 years. In 2013, the average lifespan in Latvia was 74 years, which is one of the lowest in the European Union.

He also said that the number of healthy life years for both women and men will be 75, which is 16 to 20 years more than in 2012. In order to achieve this, the Health Ministry, in collaboration with the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, will focus on four pillars of the health platform – healthy food, addiction treatment, preventive healthcare, and physical activity.

Reducing the number of residents who smoke and use alcohol or drugs to one percent of the population is possible, however, it requires educating people at a very early age, as well as implementing radical amendments to the law, believes Astrida Stirna, the head of the Latvian Association of Narcologists.

Stirna told LETA that Health Minister Guntis Belevics’ (Unity) aim to reduce the percentage of the population who smoke and abuse alcohol or drugs to one percent by 2065 is the “ideal option”, and it is not unachievable. She believes that it is too late to educate the youth about the effects of addictive substances, such kind of education has to start already at an early age.

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