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[Comment] Risk factor policies, morbidity, and mortality in Russia

Mortality rates in Russia decreased for non-communicable diseases and all other major causes of death between 1980 and 2016 according to the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) 2016 Study by the GBD 2016 Russian Collaborators,1 published in The Lancet. As the prevalence of the most important risk factor according to this study—high blood pressure—increased over the past decades,2 these achievements seem to be primarily due to substance control policies, specifically WHO’s so-called best buys,3 which resulted in marked declines in tobacco4 and—more importantly for Russia—alcohol use.