SOCHI, December 12 /TASS/. The number of smokers in Russia has dropped by a quarter from 41% to 31% from the total number of smokers since Russia launched its anti-tobacco campaign early in 2009, Oleg Salagay, Director of the Russian Health Ministry’s Public Health and Communications Department, said on Monday.
"All independent surveys, which are either underway or were conducted before, reveal a decline in (tobacco -TASS) consumption in Russia. The surveys, which were carried out by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center and other organizations, showed that the number of smokers had dropped by almost 25% (10 percentage points) from 41% to 31% in 2016," Salagay said on the sidelines of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) conference on fighting tobacco smoking in Russia.
According to experts, a key driver in helping to reduce the number of smokers was the restrictive measures enacted under the 2013 law "On the Protection of People’s Health against the Impact of Tobacco Smoke and the Consequences of Tobacco Use".
"It [the law] provides for a ban on advertising and sponsorship, and imposes restrictions on smoking in public places. Experts believe that the smoking ban in public places has made the biggest contribution to Russia’s falling tobacco consumption rate. That is why we are very cautious about the appearance of electronic cigarettes," the health ministry official said.
Earlier on Monday, TASS reported that the Russian Health Ministry had drafted a new anti-tobacco initiative, which bans the spread of electronic cigarettes along with the ordinary ones.
About six million people annually die of tobacco-related diseases compared to about 1.1 million people who die annually from AIDS. About 100 million people worldwide died as a result of tobacco addiction in the 20th century.