To Smoke or Not to Smoke: Russians Gradually Giving Up the Bad Habit
482 views   /  12 Jun 2016
The number of smokers among Russians has dropped to a seven-year low, a poll revealed.
According to a recent survey of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM), the number of smokers in Russia has been steadily declining over the last few years.
The current share of smokers among Russian citizens is 31% compared to 41% in 2013. Thus, the majority of Russians – 69% – do not smoke, with 57% saying that they have never been exposed to this harmful habit.
Since 2013, Russian authorities have adopted a series of anti-smoking laws prohibiting smoking in public places and raising prices and taxes for tobacco products. The new legislation, among others, prohibited advertising and promotion of tobacco production, provided for an intensive informational campaign on the harmful effects of smoking, and introduced stricter controls over illegal tobacco sales to minors.
The poll also showed that 17 % of Russians smoke a pack or more per day compared to 24% in 2013. Traditionally, men (45%) and young people aged 18-24 (30%) buy tobacco products more actively than women (17%) and older people aged 60 and above (15%).
The new legislation has obviously had a positive effect on the Russian population in terms of reduction of the number of smokers. However, those who still “enjoy” the habit complain about the new rules being too tough.
Even Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov believes that the new anti-smoking legislation could be emended. In an interview with the Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, he said that the Russian legislation has gone a little too far “compared to that in Europe” and suggested changing a couple of provisions in the current laws.
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