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11 Apr, 2008 13:53

Russia looks to kick smoking

Millions of Russians could be urged to kick their favourite habit as the country’s lawmakers have ratified a global anti-smoking treaty. It boosts health warnings on packets and calls an end to advertising. Half a million Russians die every year from smok

In Russia, 60% of men and 30% of women smoke.

Russia is the world's third largest producer of tobacco products but unlike other world industry leaders, who export most of what they produce, it consumes the larger part of its tobacco domestically.

The increase of production over recent years has resulted in lots of tobacco-related deaths.

“International companies have taken over all our local tobacco factories. In 1996 they produced about 220 billion cigarettes. By2006 it was 414 billion. And it correlates to the death toll. If before 1996 230, 000 people died, now it’s about 400,000 to 500,000,” said Nikolay Gerasimenko from the State Duma Health protection Committee.

The World Health Organization Global Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was adopted in 2003 and came into effect two years later. More than 150 countries already ratified it.

The document outlines tough measures aimed at reducing tobacco consumption.

“For example, within three years 30 per cent of the surface area of a cigarette packet would have to carry warnings over harmful smoking is. In five years we would have to bring tobacco advertising to heel. There's a whole lot of work to be done in this respect,” explains Ivan Dubov from the Ministry of Public Health and Social Development.

Public smoking has been banned in Ireland since 2004, in the UK since July last year and in Germany, employers can refuse to hire smoker.