Jul 13, 2010

Russia fighting back against smoking addiction

We know that smoking and secondhand smoke kills and causes numerous diseases and afflictions, and that has led to a smoking rate of less than 22 percent in the U.S. and workplace smoking bans in 38 states.

That has led tobacco companies to market their deadly products to Third World countries and other countries with no restrictions on advertising to children. One such country is Russia, where 60 percent of Russian men smoke and the number of smokers, particularly among young women, has been growing since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, according to a story in Reuters.

But Russian officials are fighting back, and they are slapping "smoking kills" warnings on cigarette packages “in an effort to crack down on an addiction (that) kills up to 500,000 people a year and is on the rise.” “The anti-smoking message will cover no less than 30 percent of the front of a package and another warning takes half of the back. The messages range from warnings of lung cancer through wrinkles to impotence and will also come with information on the amount of nicotine and resins.”

Russia has been a lifesaver for tobacco companies, and it remains one of the top tobacco clients, “with the domestic market almost completely taken by three global players: Japan Tobacco Inc., Philip Morris International and British American Tobacco PLC.”

The Russian Parliament is fighting back with an awareness campaign, and increasing taxes on cigarettes.

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