Russia Cigarette Warnings Take A Turn For The Graphic

Russia’s cigarette warnings are now more than just strongly worded statements on the side of packs, with the country unveiling a series of graphic images intended to show smokers the real effects of their vice.

The Russia cigarette warnings include a photograph of a foot ravaged by gangrene and a still-born baby, all side effects of smoking, AFP reported. The disgusting images are part of Russia’s plan to cut its sky-high smoking rates, the report stated.

Russia’s health ministry unveiled the cigarette warnings on its website, and over the next year will be requiring cigarette companies to print them on packages. The crackdown on smoking follows several other Western countries, some of which have resorted to graphic or blunt warnings on cigarette packs.

Some of the Russian cigarette warnings are more graphic than others. The blue-tinted image of the dead baby stands out, as does an image of a woman making a “thumbs down” gesture to show that the cigarettes have caused her partner to be impotent.

“Global experience shows that shocking pictures on cigarette packs significantly influenced changes in perception of smoking by smokers themselves,” the Russian health ministry said.

Russia’s cigarette warnings come at a much needed time in the nation’s fight against nicotine addiction. The World Health Organization’s Global Adult Tobacco Survey found that the average Russian smokes 17 cigarettes per day. Another survey in 2009 found that 39.1 percent of Russians smoked, one of the world’s highest rates of tobacco use. Tobacco-related deaths among working-age people cost Russia close to $46 billion per year, the country’s deputy health minister added.

The newest Russian cigarette warnings are actually part of an escalating strategy to address the problem, Reuters reported. Two years ago the country adopted requirements that cigarette makers put “smoking kills” on packs.