Russia to put shock images on cigarette packs (Update)

Russia on Monday unveiled a series of graphic images, including of a gangrenous foot and a still-born baby, that will be printed on cigarette packs as the country tries to trim its sky-high rates of smoking.

The health ministry published photographs on its website for use by cigarette companies, which will be obliged to print them on cigarette packs from May next year as Russia tightens its laws towards a Western-style crackdown on smoking.

The pictures show a blue-tinted image of a dead baby and a graphic image of a blackened gangrenous foot, as well as more figurative images such as a woman's hand making a "thumbs-down" gesture to represent impotency.

"Global experience shows that shocking pictures on cigarette packs significantly influenced changes in perception of smoking by smokers themselves," the ministry said.

The average Russian smoker consumes 17 cigarettes per day, with men smoking an average of 18 cigarettes and women 13, the health ministry said, citing the World Health Organisation's Global Adult Tobacco Survey statistics.

The survey published in 2009 found that 39.1 percent of Russians smoked, which the WHO said was one of the world's highest rates of tobacco use.

Deputy health minister Sergei Velmyaikin estimated that Russia lost almost 1.5 trillion rubles ($46 billion) per year from tobacco-related deaths among people of working age, the Interfax news agency reported.

The WHO said that graphic warnings on packs would be a "major step forward in The Russian Federation to be compliant with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control."

Russia two years ago introduced large written warnings of the health consequences of smoking on packs, following Western practice.

On Friday, the health ministry submitted a draft bill to lawmakers that would introduce Western-style smoking bans in restaurants from 2014 in a country where non-smoking areas are still usually a token gesture.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Smokers who use e-cigarettes less likely to quit

date Apr 16, 2015

The rapid increase in use of e-cigarettes has led to heated debates between opponents who question the safety of these devices and proponents who claim the battery-operated products are a useful cessation tool. A study, published ...

Evidence that synthetic drugs can cause cancer

date Apr 16, 2015

Almost weekly, a new synthetic psychoactive drug comes onto the market somewhere in Europe that can be ordered legally and easily, for example as an incense blend, via the Internet. Synthetic cannabinoids ...

Benefits of heroin treatment for drug users

date Apr 14, 2015

Drug users who do not benefit from conventional treatments for heroin addiction should be able to access the drug through the health system, urges a Canadian expert in The BMJ today.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.