The World Health Organization is working on the detailed tobacco survey for Russia, Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2009. The results of this survey, planned for release at the end of this year, will reveal new statistics on smoking in the country.
Statistics that already can be released show that the number of smokers continues to increase. About 33.8% of Russian adults smoke on a daily basis. Smoking rate among men constitutes 60.2% (30.6 million); women continue to catch up the habit, thus constituting 21.7 percent (13.3 million). Also, 51.4 % of surveyed adults have been exposed to second-hand smoke in public places in the preceding 30 days of the survey.
These are disarranging figures for the overall health of the population. Probably it is a cause for optimism, because despite the high smoking rates, there is an increasing awareness among the population of the different harmful effects of smoking. More than 60% of current smokers want to quit and 81.9 % of adults know that exposure to second-hand smoke is the cause of grave illnesses in those who do not smoke.
Whereas in the majority of West European countries the rate of smoking among both men and women has stabilized or even is decreasing, in Russia it has shown an ascending trend since 1991. Smoking rate among boys 13 to 15 years of age constitutes 30%, while among girls of the same age it is close to 25%.
The National Tobacco Control Strategy will be soon finalized. The given survey will assure evidences on adult smoking and related patterns in Russia. The survey targeted all Russian adults at 15 or older, and it was conducted in 60 out of the 83 regions, about 91.1 % of the total population. It was led in collaboration with the Pulmonary Research Institute, State Statistics Service and the Health and Social Development Ministry.
The unhealthy impact of Russia’s high rates of tobacco use is evident. Russia has one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the European region.
Tobacco-related diseases have also contributed to the low birth rate registered in Russia in recent years. Smoking decreases fertility and is a primary cause of poor pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weigh and miscarriage complications during delivery.
Thus there is an evident need to improve public health in Russia by means of comprehensive and prompt interventions in order to reduce tobacco use. Russian government ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2008, thus making an essential commitment to tobacco control.
Russian government has taken many steps to revise its current tobacco control legislation; nevertheless the further strengthening is still needed.
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