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MOSCOW, May 11 (Itar-Tass) —— Hard-hitting anti-smoking advertisements on cigarette packs are designed to activate the instinct of self-preservation in smokers, Tatiana Yakovleva, the first deputy chairman of the health committee of the Russian State Duma lower parliament house, told journalists on Friday, commenting on an order of the Russian ministry of health and social development obliging tobacco manufacturers and importers to place anti-smoking ads and warnings on cigarette packs.
According to Yakovleva, it is a very important and timely measure. “Current pack warnings are only a halfhearted measure. I know that anti-tobacco warnings irritate chain-smokers, so in order not to ruin their good mood they place stickers or adhesive tape over these warnings. So, each of such warning should be illustrated,” she said and added that it will not be that easy to hide such picture.
“The instinct of self-preservation will be actuated in the long run. Pictures are obviously more efficient than printed words,” she noted.
She cited the results of polls conducted in the West, where a third of former smokers confessed that terrifying pictures on cigarette packs helped them quit smoking. “I hope that such pictures will help Russians come to their senses and drop this harmful habit,” Yakovleva said.
She voiced concern over growing popularity of smoking among teenagers. According to Yakovleva, children begin to smoke in Russia at an average age of 11. “From eight to 12 percent of 7-8-grade schoolchildren are smokers, the figure is 21-24 percent among senior high school students,” she noted and urged to use “all means possible” to convince the youth not to smoke.
Earlier in the day, the ministry of justice registered an order issued by Russia’s ministry of health and social development that obliges to place anti-smoking warnings on cigarette packs.
“The document obliges to place anti-tobacco advertisements and graphic warnings on cigarette packs,” the Russian ministry of health said. Cigarette manufacturers and importers will have one year to change the design of cigarette packs to meet the requirements of the order.
Tatiana Golikova, the minister of health and social development, refers to international experience that proves that hard-hitting pictures on cigarette packs have helped to change the moods among smokers. Thus, a total of 78 percent of them said such pictures are useful, and 67 percent said these pictures prompted them to think about dropping smoking. Anyway, half of the smokers said they changed their attitude to smoking-induced health problems. “The measure is geared first of all towards the younger generation and non-smokers to avert them from smoking,” she said.
As of now, there are about 43.9 million smokers in Russia, which is as many as 39.1 percent of the entire population. An average Russian smokes 17 cigarettes a day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Russia is the world leader in tobacco consumption.