Russian alcoholism
A drunk man slumped in a doorway in Tomsk, SiberiaReuters

Officials in Komi Republic – in the remote Urals region of central Russia– are considering banning large bottles of perfume to stop them being consumed as a cheap alternative to vodka.

Under the proposals bottles of perfume would be reduced in size from 50 ml to 10 ml to ensure that they remain more expensive than spirits, Russian news outlet FlashNord reported.

According to the report the republic has high rates of alcoholism, with the number of deaths caused by the addiction above the national average in ten of the region's towns, according to consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor.

"Dual use" alcohol-based products including perfume, medicine and cleaning products are the most common cause of poisoning in the region, according to the report. Their alcohol content can be as high as 97%, and they are often cheaper than alcoholic drinks because they are not subject to excise duty.

Other measures suggested by the republic's legislature to tackle alcoholism include testing "dual use" alcohol-based products in retail premises to ensure they meet legislative standards, and banning the sale of alcohol between 11pm and 8am in housing estates.

In 2007, a UK-led study found that more than half of deaths of working age men in Russia were due to hazardous drinking. Drinkers consuming "non-beverage" products containing alcohol such as eau de cologne and cleaning products were nine times more likely to die than those who did not.