MOSCOW, May 31 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) supported the World Health Organisation’s initiative against the tobacco industry’s interference in the drafting and implementation of anti-tobacco policies.
“The purpose of the information campaign this year is to draw the attention of the international community to the global tobacco epidemics and its lethal consequences, and attract the attention of the people who shape up policies to the need to expose increasingly aggressive attempts by the tobacco industry to undermine the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” the agency told Itar-Tass.
According to experts, the tobacco industry spends dozens of billions of U.S. dollars for marketing their products with the help of advertising, sales promotion and tobacco sponsorship.
“Leading tobacco companies use different methods to influence the public opinion. These include pressuring governments, creating a tobacco lobby in legislative bodies, sponsoring sport and charitable events,” Rospotrebnadzor said.
According to the Ministry of Health, at least 400,000 people die in Russia annually from smoking-related diseases.
Official statistics indicate that 45 percent of Russian citizens have smoked, and 34 percent of them smoke all the time.
Having noted that a sharp growth of tobacco excises was a global trend, the lawmaker expressed regret that Russia lags behind.
The number of smokers continues to grow as more women and children take to smoking. Currently, the average age when a person starts smoking in Russia is 11 years. Mortality among Russian smokers is three times higher than abroad due to high tar and nicotine contents.
The scale of tobacco smoking and the spread of tobacco-related diseases in Russia continue to grow. Despite the annual decrease in the population, cigarette consumption grows every year. From 2000 to 2005 cigarette consumption increased by 30 percent from 287 billion in 2000 to 375 billion in 2005. This causes serious damage to the health of the population since tobacco consumption is one of the main factors leading to the development of cardiovascular, bronchopulmonary and gastrointestinal diseases. For example, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the main cause of which is smoking, has risen in the structure of mortality in Russia over the past five years from 12th to 4th place. Lung cancer, which is caused by smoking in 90 percent of cases, affects about 50,000 men annually.
In 2008 the Duma passed the technical regulation on tobacco to bring the federal law “On the Limitation of Tobacco Smoking” in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The document seeks to increase governmental control and supervision over compliance by tobacco producers with tobacco product requirements, improve public awareness of tobacco hazards, reduce the negative effects of tobacco on smokers, and prevent the adverse impact of passive smoking on non-smokers.