Tougher measures force Ukrainians to quit smoking

No Smoking

More and more Ukrainians are quitting smoking as the new law toughens bans on tobacco advertising, smoking in public places and implements graphic warnings on cigarette packs.

Starting with December 16, smoking in indoor public places will be unlawful as a new legislation signed by President Viktor Yanukovych in June becomes operational. The new law bans smoking in all public places. Hookah pipes and electronic cigarettes also are exposed to the ban.

Smoking rooms in all public places will be closed, but still will be allowed in office buildings. Violators will be fined at Hr 1,000 ($125) to Hr 10,000.

The new law is the addition to tobacco-control legislation. In September, it was introduced a ban that bans all forms of cigarette advertising. In addition, beginning with October 4, cigarette makers are required to sell cigarettes with graphic warnings on tobacco packs.

The graphic warnings law passed parliament in 2009, but introduction has been delayed through different measures until this year.

A majority of tobacco products that are sold now do not have graphic warnings as the cigarette makers are selling what was produced before October 4.

The new smoking law is widely supported. Olena Dub from Smoke Free Kyiv civic organization received 500 signatures from waitresses and bartenders who are mostly exposed to passive smoking in public places.

Partly due to the public health campaign, fewer Ukrainians smoke and fewer youth are taking up cigarettes.

According to the World Health Organization, 62% of men and 17% of women were regular smokers in 2005. In 2010, the numbers dropped to 45% men and 9% women.

This replaced Ukraine from 4th to 29th place in a ranking of top smoking states, as outlined by the WHO 2011 report.

The number of smokers decreased from 10.1 million in 2008 to 8.6 million.

A Kyiv International Sociology Institute review reveals that 84% of Ukrainians approve the indoor smoking ban.

Tobacco companies will likely fight back before the law becomes operational on December 16. A draft law by Oleg Nadosha, a member of parliament with the pro-presidential Party of Regions, would cancel the ban.

The next debate is expected in parliament soon, as activists call for raised cigarettes taxes to make smoking less affordable. Tax increases have been demonstrated to be the single most successful way to help smokers give up smoking.

Nowadays the cheapest filtered cigarettes cost about Hr 5, less than in the European Union and Russia.

According to the WHO estimations, the cigarette tax has to be increased 50% to be effective.

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