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Tobacco ads have Increased the smoking among Russian Women

Published on March 7th, 2008 15:03

According to a new research, the number of Russian women who smoke has increased and is a "very worrying increase". Researchers think that the cause of such an increase is tobacco advertisements. Because tobacco advertisements target women’s desire for weight loss and appeal to women’s growing desire for freedom of choice and independence.

When tobacco advertising had not existed in the Soviet era the smoking was not so widespread among Russian people. By the mid 1990s when have appeared more and more tobacco ads it was estimated that the smoking among people were increased. In 1992, seven per cent of women smoked, compared to almost 15 per cent by 2003.

In the same period, the number of men who smoke has risen from 57 per cent to 63 per cent.

"There can be no doubt that the marketing tactics of Philip Morris, British American Tobacco and the like directly underpin this massive increase in smoking that spells disaster for health in Russia," said Dr Anna Gilmore from the University of Bath.

She has been researching tobacco control in Russia for over seven years.

Dr Anna Gilmore affirmed that: “Transnational tobacco companies (TTCs) aggressively targeted women, young people and those living in cities with their marketing and distribution strategies. This is now directly reflected in the smoking patterns we are seeing. Until this point women in Russia had simply not smoked."

"The situation was made worse by aggressive industry lobbying to weaken tobacco control legislation.”

"The fact that the TTCs have managed to drive up male smoking rates from already high levels is incredibly alarming because at this stage of the epidemic we would expect male smoking rates to be declining.”

"There is already a major demographic crisis in Russia and smoking, which already accounts for nearly half of male deaths, is making this far worse.”

"The smoking epidemic in women is at a much earlier stage, but with this rapid increase, is set to catch up fast.”

She added: "The Russian government needs to wake up to the fact that cigarettes kill one in every two smokers, and unless it takes action urgently, millions more Russians will die from tobacco."

Only the policies that have been proven to reduce tobacco use among men can protect women, too. Policies like smoke-free air regulations, anti-tobacco advertising, bans on tobacco marketing and advertising, strong graphic health warnings on tobacco packaging, and increasing tobacco taxes have been proven effective in reducing tobacco use and saving lives.