Russia to shock smokers with giant cigarette pack warnings

Russia is to introduce prominent health warnings on cigarette packs for the first time to shock smokers in the nicotine-addicted country with messages about impotency and wrinkles.

Last Updated: Jun 25, 2010, 21:39 PM IST

Moscow: Russia is to introduce prominent
health warnings on cigarette packs for the first time tomorrow
to shock smokers in the nicotine-addicted country with
messages about impotency and wrinkles.

Under the new rules, cigarette producers must cover at
least 30 per cent of the front of cigarette packs with one of
12 warnings, ranging from "Smoking causes lung cancer" to
"Smoking can cause impotency".

Warnings must also cover 50 per cent of the back of the
pack.

Cigarette packs currently include only a small warning on
the front that says "Smoking damages your health" and which
must cover only four per cent of the area.

The changes come nine years after similar warnings were
introduced in the European Union, reflecting relaxed attitudes
to smoking in Russia.

Cigarettes sell for around 40 rubles (one euro) per pack
in Russia and smoking in restaurants and bars is still the
norm.

Sixty-five per cent of Russian men smoke and about 30 per
cent of women, according to official statistics, and the
number of smokers has grown since the 1991 collapse of the
Soviet Union, particularly among young women.

The new rules will include warnings aimed at young women,
such as messages about premature skin ageing and damage caused
by smoking during pregnancy.

Each year more than 350,000 Russians die from
smoking-related diseases, according to the health and social
development ministry.

PTI