Gregory Feifer, of Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty recently published an article on tobacco use in Russia.
He pointed out how the current laws, and heavy regulation and taxes on tobacco products in the West have pressured many smokers to give up their unhealthy habit.
This has had an effect on big tobacco profits in the US causing the industry to seek out new markets to make up losses from the North America and European market.
The Wild West Meets Russia
In Russia, Gregory states this powerful industry is growing stronger every day because, “there are no laws against smoking in public establishments,” taxes are lower, and the attitude of the public is one in which smoking and being of independent character are one in the same. If you remember those old Marboro Man commercials, Russia is reminiscent of those days in the West.
Those who are familiar with the original Marlboro Man, David McClean who appeared in many Marlboro ads starting in the early 60’s died of lung cancer at the age of 73 after it spread to his brain and spine. His widow and son filed a wrongful death lawsuit again Philip Morris, Inc. His tobacco campaign was one of the most well recognized and successful ad campaigns in US history.
Now, big tobacco companies are using the same tactics and preying on the Russian public since they have lost a large share of business. They don’t even have to be creative in their efforts because the Russian tobacco laws and regulation are not in place to protect their citizens from the use of the same old ploys that worked so well in the U.S. and Europe for decades.
As laws here have become stricter large tobacco interests have stepped up their efforts to flood the Russian market and replay their old sales formulas.
Russian Smoking Statistics for Women and Young Smokers
It seems to be working as rates for smokers have risen each year in Russia, especially through targeting women and adolescent smokers.
The laws that have been put in place in Europe and the West, along with the extra taxes on tobacco products, and the new public emphasis on health have made a positive impact. They do help protect citizens from increased use of tobacco.
Russia, according to Gregory Feifer, needs to move forward more quickly to put laws in place to protect the public before these predatory companies become more powerfully entrenched. Soon Russia will be facing a serious epidemic if they aren’t already.