In 2013, Russia banned smoking in public places such as cafes, restaurants and nightclubs, as well as on trains, in playgrounds, etc. Statistical analysis has revealed, however, that 26% of male and 28% of female smokers do not always comply with these smoking bans. A full report from a study by Ludmila Zasimova, Assistant Professor at the HSE Department of Applied Economics, has been published in the International Journal of Public Health.
Federal Law No.15 "On Protecting Citizens' Health from the Effects of Second-hand Tobacco Smoke and the Consequences of Tobacco Consumption" was passed nearly six years ago, but until now, no one has examined its impact.
Zasimova's research is based on findings from a health and healthcare survey conducted by the Levada Centre in February 2017. The survey, based on a nationally representative sample, found that some 25% of Russians aged 15 and older were smokers, including nearly half of all men (47%) and up to 14% of women in this age group. The highest proportion of smokers was found among 35 to 44 year-olds and the lowest in people over 65.
The survey questionnaire included a list of locations and asked the respondents to indicate those in which they had smoked — or seen other people smoke — in the previous 30 days. To avoid bias, no mention was made as to which locations on the list were legally smoke-free.
According to the survey findings, most (57%) respondents had smoked or seen others smoking in lobbies, halls and lifts of apartment buildings, approximately 50% had smoked or witnessed smoking in nightclubs and bars, more than 37% reported smoking in cafes and restaurants, and some 21% in offices. The least common locations for non-compliance with smoke-free policies (6.5%) included public transport, healthcare facilities and sports grounds.
Approximately 27% of smokers admitted having smoked in a smoke-free location — most often in offices or in shared spaces of apartment buildings — at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey.
Further statistical analysis of the responses reveals that people most likely to break the smoke-free ban are those aged 15 to 24 and those who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day.
Zasimova also examined a link between alcohol consumption and the likelihood of smoking ban violations and found that 46% of regular drinkers were likely to smoke in smoke-free locations, compared to 20% of non-drinkers or those who rarely consumed alcohol.
Ludmila Zasimova, Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Economics, HSE Faculty of Economic Sciences