The Iranian Ministry of Health says the consumption of alcoholic beverages has reached alarming levels in the southern areas of Tehran.

Shargh Newspaper reported on Tuesday that senior ministry official Bagher Larijani said: “According to reports from physicians and hospitals in the southern Tehran area, the spread of alcohol consumption is very concerning.”

He added: “Action regarding consumption of alcohol has become more pressing that ailments such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

The ministry also announced that it has only limited data regarding alcohol addiction, however, their research indicates there are two million addicts in the population, including alcohol addicts.

Previously, the head of the Task Force against Smuggling announced that alcohol smuggling was a $730-million-a-year business, and only a quarter of that is discovered and confiscated by the government.

Some reports indicate that large alcohol shipments enter the country through certain government portals with the supervision of government officials.

It is reported that between 60 million and 80 million litres of alcoholic beverages are smuggled into the country annually.

The average age for alcohol consumption is 20, according to research conducted by university graduate programs.

Every year, many people fall victim to the ill effects of non-standard, homemade alcoholic beverages in Iran. In one case some years ago, dozens of people in Shiraz lost their sight after consuming one of these products.