smoke istock Russians Urged to Smoke, Drink


Times are tough all over, but one Russian government official thinks he has the perfect medicine to cure his country’s economic ills – more smoking and drinking.

“If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates,” Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin said, according to the Interfax news agency.

“People should understand: Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state,” he said.

Interesting advice.

The health impacts of smoking are well known – lung cancer, emphysema, heart disease and early death. And alcohol kills around half a million Russians each year, according to AFP.

Still Russians like to indulge. According to the news service, 65 percent of men smoke and the average Russian drinks 18 liters of booze each year, mostly vodka.

But Kudrin’s advice is fundamentally about money. His ministry plans to double the currently low tax on cigarettes, reports AFP. Cigarettes now sell for around $1.30 a pack in Russia. By comparison, New Yorkers can pay up to $11 for a pack of smokes, with $5.85 going to government coffers.

In America, smoking taxes are often seen as a way to curb smoking, not just raise money.

A “15 percent decrease in teen smoking will result as initiation of this tax,” Scott Santarella, CEO of the American Lung Association New York, said of a recent tax hike on cigarettes. “and a 5 percent adult smoking decrease from the tax itself.”

Copyright 2010 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

More From CBS Detroit

Best Cooking Classes In DetroitLearn how to whip up some wonderful dishes while having fun!
5 Bucket List Items To Cross Off In DetroitThe “must-do” items for anyone making a trip to Detroit.

Watch & Listen LIVE