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Russian ban on Polish apples sparks debate on whether to encourage cider consumption

Poland's Economy Ministry wants the nation of beer and vodka lovers to drink more cider.

The ministry is trying to exempt cider from a law that bans advertising any alcohol other than beer, as it tries to help apple producers hurt by a Russian embargo on European foods.

But the Health Ministry and other health advocates are fighting the proposal. They say it is dangerous to encourage any alcohol consumption at all in a society where some people abuse alcohol.

Krzysztof Brzozka, the director of the State Agency for the Prevention of Alcohol Related Problems, said Friday that, "Poles are not light drinkers." His agency, which is under the umbrella of the Health Ministry, is fighting the proposed change, which is to be debated in the Senate next month.