Smoking down in Ukraine

| September 5, 2017

The incidence of smoking in Ukraine has fallen by 20 percent during the past seven years, according to the World Health Organization citing the results of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS).

The WHO said that the reduction in the incidence of smoking had come about because Ukraine, following WHO recommendations, had strengthened its anti-tobacco legislation.

“Ukraine ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2006, and since then tobacco control in the country has been strengthened, said Dr. Marthe Everard, WHO representative and head of the WHO country office in Ukraine. “This has helped to achieve a significant reduction in tobacco use. However, a lot of work still needs to be done. All tobacco control stakeholders – the government, politicians, experts, scientists, civil society activists – should strengthen and join up their efforts.”

Speaking at the launch of the GATS findings, Everard said that using the GATS framework helped the country identify and understand the outstanding problems it faced in further reducing the number of smokers.

The 20 percent reduction in the country’s smoking incidence between 2010 and 2017 was largely due to a reduction in smoking among men. No significant reductions were seen in the proportion of women who smoke.

In 2017, 7.2 million adult Ukrainians smoked daily, including 35.9 percent of all adult men and 7.0 percent of all adult women.

However, fewer adults were said to be considering quitting smoking, which, the WHO said, might be linked to a decrease in the number who reported having been exposed to anti-tobacco advertising. It might be linked also with the fact that smoking in public and tobacco advertising are still seen in Ukraine, despite their being banned.

WHO said that the results of GATS 2017 would be used to develop Ukraine’s tobacco control policy further to fulfil the requirements of the FCTC.

It identified what it saw as areas for urgent attention:

  • ‘using legislation to strengthen compliance with existing policy, in particular regarding the ban on smoking in public places and on the marketing of tobacco products;
  • ‘providing access to free or affordable services to support people in quitting tobacco use;
  • ‘strengthening measures warning people of the risks of tobacco use;
  • ‘maintaining regular increases in the price of tobacco products through effective tobacco tax increases.’

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