Shocking smoking rates in Russia

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More than 60 percent of adult male pollution smokes, as well as 40 percent of women!

Leonid Lazebnik, Head of Moscow Department of Health, warned the state officials that the number of severe health complications triggered by smoking is growing very fast and could result in a “national epidemic”, since the adolescent smoking rates keep growing as well.

Smoking rates among men in Europe

Dr. Lazebnik stated the picture is rather notorious, as the major part of male population admitted to light up at least several times in their lives, while some twenty years ago smokers accounted for 40 percent of men and only 5 percent of women in Russia.

In addition, the head of Moscow Health Department cited the 2009 data, showing that 25 percent of all residents of the capital smoke, with more than 70 percent of teenagers admitted to try cigarettes at least once, what is a catastrophe, according to the scientist.

Though Dr. Lazebnik did not have at his disposal the information about the spread of illnesses caused by smoking, Moscow and Federal officials, attending the meeting pledged to consider the legislation, which would restrict tobacco sales, increase tobacco taxes and limit smoking in public venues.

Yulia Grimalskaya, vice chairwoman of the Department of Family and Youth declared that they would lose the battle against smoking if they don’t have rigorous anti-smoking laws.

She added they have to prohibit cigarette sales in kiosks and introduce hefty fines for selling cigarettes to minors and smoking in banned places.

Nikolai Gerasimenko, chairman of State Duma Committee on Health, said they would lobby for the hike on excise tobacco taxes, what would help to crack down the illicit market of counterfeit smokes, and make the tobacco products less affordable for adolescents.

Russian Federation is home to the lowest tobacco taxes across Europe, and that leaves a plenty of room for the officials to consider an increase.

Besides the traditional measures, such as tax increases, Russian Health officials as well propose banning tobacco advertisements on TV, print media, and public places, and create smoke-free zones in commercial centers and restaurants, which will attract more tourists to Moscow.

Mr. Gerasimenko admitted that international tobacco corporations are investing millions to boost smoking rates, without any care about health complications their race to profits causes.

Gerasimenko complained that foreign tobacco makers were making money at Russia’s expense. “They receive their incomes, whereas the state spending on their treating smoking-related diseases increases,” he added.

Yulia Grimalskaya as well admitted both the teenagers and adults have to be educated about the risks of tobacco by means of anti-smoking campaigns. The Department Mrs. Grimalskaya chairs has elaborated several campaigns, featuring TV ads and billboards showing smokers with dirty sponges in their hands, symbolizing dirty lungs of smokers. The campaign including these billboards was initiated in Moscow this winter.

In conformity with a survey, a similar anti-smoking campaign carried out in 2009, resulted in a 7 percent decline in adult smoking rates, though the data about teenage rates remained unclear.

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