Grim graphic images depicting the impact of smoking on human health will appear on all cigarette packs in Russia starting in May 2013, the Health and Social Development Ministry said on Friday.
The ministry published on its website a list of 13 pictures that are to adorn cigarette packs. Visual images range from sick infants to blackened lungs while accompanying warnings including “Self-Destruction,” “Periodontitis” and “Erectile Dysfunction.”
Cigarette and tobacco packs in Russia currently only bear written warnings to smokers.
Russia is the world leader on smoking, with more than 39 percent of the adult populace, or 43.9 million people, being addicted to tobacco, according to WHO’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey, held in 2007, said acting Health and Social Development Minister Tatiana Golikova.
Smoking kills about 400,000 Russians a year, Golikova said.
Seventy-eight percent of smokers in countries that depict consequences of smoking on cigarette packs approved the introduction of gruesome illustrations, Golikova said. Countries that put graphic images of the consequences of smoking include Australia, India and European Union members.
The Russian government is mounting an anti-smoking campaign which is to include stricter rules on smoking in public places and a drastic increase in cigarette prices in the form of taxation.