Smoking in Russia

Russian Woman Smoking

When it comes to smoking, Russia is the second world’s leader in tobacco consumption after China. Russia is largest tobacco market with 25% smoking women and 60% smoking men.

In order to reduce smoking rates in the country, back in 2013 Russian government adopted large reforms which to be implemented in several stages. The reforms include smoking bans in public places and launching education campaigns. However,  Russian population does not support the anti-tobacco laws and wants to continue to smoke.

Tricia Starks, an expert on the history of tobacco use in modern Russia at the University of Arkansas is not surprised by the strong anti-tobacco opposition in modern Russia. The country tried to fight smoking several times in its history but none of attempts enjoyed a success. In 1920 Russia was the first country in the world who tried to eliminate tobacco use, but the attempt falied. Then anti-tobacco initiatives of 1970s also failed. As a result, smoking in Russia is a major public health problem.

Tricia Starks is working over a book called Cigarettes and Soviets: The Culture of Tobacco Use in Modern Russia, which would contain a full research on the subject.

Data shows that today nearly 400,000 people in Russia die from smoking-related diseases. In the USA this number is two times lower. In 2009 the two countries developed a Bilateral Presidential Commission that regulated programs between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Russian Ministry of Health and Social Development.

The idea of quitting smoking is not supported in Russia like in the USA is. For example, when Russian population found out that new law imposes placing health warnings on packs, it was more preoccupied with cigarette prices than with messages.

Another Russian problem is alcohol consumption. In the country 20% of men die from alcohol-related diseases while in the world only 6% men do.

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