Thursday, December 10, 2009

Russia cannot afford its smoking habit

RFL/RFE has a good article about a problem that is not new but merits more attention from journalists and policy makers. Everyone knows about the problem with alcoholism. Less discussed is the problem with smoking in that country. I'm not sure it was worse last year when I lived in Moscow than when I moved to St. Petersburg more than 10 years ago. Probably the quality of cigarettes is different. It more rare to see people smoking papirosi - especially in cosmopolitan Moscow & St. Petersburg. But the "Western" style Marlboros and Camels are just as deadly.

The problem with drinking is evident. Its signs are as clear as the drunk you need to avoid in the metro. Nicotine addiction is much more insidious. Its costs are not so immediate - but they are just as real and the threat to Russia is just as serious.