Press Release: Smoking prevalence among children in Ukraine has decreased by 43% over the last 12 years

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Kiev, 15 November 2018 - Newly published results from the Global Youth Tobacco Survey show improvements in smoking prevalence rates among Ukrainian children. The SFP Coalition Partner NGO Advocacy Center 'Life' has prepared a press release with additional information.

On November 15, on the International No Smoking Day, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the WHO Country Office in Ukraine, and NGO Advocacy Center "Life" presented the results of the latest Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) in Ukraine.

The smoking prevalence among young people aged 13-15 years decreased by 23% in comparison with 2011 and by 43% compared with 2005. However, 14.9% of adolescents (17.8% of boys and 12.1% of girls) use tobacco products. The Global Youth Tobacco Survey was conducted in Ukraine three times — in 2005, 2011, and 2017.

Iryna Rudenko, Acting Head of the Public Health Department of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, said, «The prevalence of tobacco use decreased from 26% in 2005 to 14.9% in 2017 and  also the number of those who suffered from passive smoking in public places significantly decreased, the awareness of young people about the harmfulness of smoking has increased.»

However, today there are a number of unresolved issues. Іn particular, 18.4% of 13-15-year-old children are current consumers of electronic cigarettes. The reason is that the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors is still not prohibited at the legislative level. In addition, 62.5% of children notice cigarettes’ ads in stores and kiosks. Joshua Abrams, Program Director of the Eurasian region of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that tobacco displays at the point of sale are a manipulative tactic of the tobacco industry, which targets kids.

Lilia Olefir, Executive Director of the NGO Advocacy Center “Life”, commented, «There are cost-effective legislative measures to prevent youth from smoking initiation.  Therefore, to continue reduction of the smoking prevalence among kids and youth, the Parliament should promote the adoption of anti-tobacco draft laws No. 2820 and No. 4030a that are supported by the general public.»

The draft law No. 2820 prohibits the sale of flavored cigarettes, increases pictorial health warnings up to 65% of the surface of a pack of cigarettes on both sides. It also bans the promotion and sale of e-cigarettes to children and defines clear requirements for content and labeling. The draft law No. 4030a aims to ban tobacco marketing at the points of sale and improve smoke-free policies.

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