Russian second for smokers

Russia has the second largest number of


said Nikolai Gerasimenko, the deputy chair of the Russian Duma committee for
science and high technology, during a press briefing there on 4 April. He had
attended the XV World Conference Tobacco
or Health
in Singapore, where an anti-smoking strategy was worked up for
the next three years. According to the statistics available to the participants
in the conference, Russia has advanced from third to second place in the world
for the amount of smoking that was going on. In 2011 Russians were smoking 398
billion cigarettes yearly. Yet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘smoking’
atlas showed that the number of cigarettes manufactured in Russia over the last
four years has shrunk (the figure for 2008 had been 410 billion). Mr
Gerasimenko thought that the number of smokers in the country is gradually falling,
which he associated with health warnings required by the ministry of health and
social development to be displayed on packaging and also on the promotion of a
healthy lifestyle in the mass media.


to The Global Survey of the Adult
Population on the Use of Tobacco
(GATS) carried out in 2009-10, 60.2% of
Russian men and 21.7% of Russian women are smokers.  That is 43 million adults or almost 40% of the adult population.
However, almost half of Russians in the most economically active population
group aged between 19 and 44 (seven out of ten men and four out of ten women)
are smokers. The average Russian smokes 17 cigarettes a day. As a result
400,000 Russians die annually of smoking related diseases.


his meeting with the journalists Mr Gerasimenko spoke about world-wide trends
in countering the smoking habit. In many countries organs which have become
diseased as a result of smoking are portrayed on the packets and there are also
warnings about the harm caused by the use of tobacco. Australia and Norway have
recently introduced monochrome packaging which does not carry a brand name. Mr Gerasimenko
thinks that this will avoid competition between makes.


Russia it is planned to introduce such off-putting images as proposed by the
Health Council of the Integration Committee of the Eurasian Economic Community
(EEC) in 2013. The ministry of health is currently considering the Protection
of the National Health from the Effects of Smoking Bill. It was drafted by the
EEC in connection with the accession of Russia to the WHO’s framework
convention on combating smoking. According to Mr Gerasimenko merely adopting
the new law will not improve the situation in Russia. ‘The existing law in Russia
prohibits the sale of cigarettes to children under the age of 18 as well as
smoking on (public) transport but in practice these prohibitions are
universally violated. He suggested increasing the penalty for breaches of the
existing anti-smoking law from 100 to 1000 roubles in order to promote


Yakovleva, a medical doctor and first deputy chair of the Duma’s health
committee, stated that those responsible for formulating the provisions in the
bill encountered the most extreme opposition from the tobacco lobby when it was
being drafted. She said, ‘Under the bill the smoking ban will be extended to
restaurants, government buildings, offices, lifts, and educational, cultural,
medical, and sporting venues, all forms of public transport, stations and
ports. May I say right away that these new measures are not really draconian.
For example in New York it is forbidden to smoke even in parks’. She suggested protecting
non-smokers without discriminating against smokers by equipping venues with
ventilated smoking rooms and means of humidifying and purifying the air.


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