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Russia leads the world in the prevalence of smoking
Russia leads the world in the prevalence of smoking, a leading lung specialist in the Ural Region of Sverdlovsk said Thursday. "The prevalence of smoking is growing among teenagers and the young as a whole, as well as among women," Igor Leshchenko told a press conference on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day. "They are more sensitive to cigarette smoke, so that whereas the prevalence of that deadly habit among women in 2005 constituted about 10%, today it is closer to 30%," he said, adding that Russia is among only a handful of nations that has still not signed the World Health Organization anti-smoking convention. However, addressing the first all-Russia forum on smoking entitled "Tobacco or Health" in Moscow May 28-29, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said that Russia would sign the convention within a month, according to a conference participant, Olga Andriyanova. "We are world leaders in terms of smoking-related deaths, we are world leaders in the per capita number of smokers," she said. "We are being targeted by multinational tobacco companies, and as a result we have the world's cheapest cigarettes." She said that while a pack of cigarettes in Russia costs on average eight cents ($ 0.10), in Norway that same pack costs eight euros ($10). More needs to be done to fight the blight of smoking, especially among the young, she said, including through investment in sports facilities, as well as targeted government anti-smoking programs. It is estimated that up to 700 people die every day in Russia from smoking-related illnesses.
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