Press conference held in Moscow to mark World No Tobacco Day


On 31 May in Moscow, the WHO Country Office in the Russian Federation organized a joint press conference with the Ministry of Health to mark World No Tobacco Day and launch the results of the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) that was conducted in the country for the second time.

The GATS is the global standard for systematically monitoring adult tobacco use (both smoking and other smokeless forms, such as chewing tobacco) and tracking progress in key areas of tobacco control. This survey enhances countries’ capacity to design, implement and evaluate tobacco control programmes, as well as fulfil their monitoring obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The main objective of the GATS is to generate comparable data within and across countries.

In the Russian Federation, GATS was conducted in 2016 – and previously, in 2009 – as a household survey of people aged 15 years and older. The survey was carried out by the information and publishing centre Statistics of Russia, under the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), and the Pulmonology Research Institute, under the coordination of the Ministry of Health. Survey information was collected using handheld devices. The overall response rate was 98.2%, and a total of 11 458 individual interviews were completed.

During the press conference, Dmitry Kostennikov, State Secretary - Deputy Minister of Health, announced the results of GATS 2016, and provided comparisons with the 2009 survey. In the Russian Federation, tobacco use prevalence decreased significantly among adults, falling from 39.4% in 2009 to 30.9% in 2016 – from 60.7% to 50.9% in males and from 21.7% to 14.3% in females. This represents a 21.5% relative decline in tobacco use prevalence. Exposure to second-hand smoke in homes and public places also decreased significantly. The exposure to tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship decreased significantly, from 68.0% in 2009 to 23.1% in 2016.

Mr Kostennikov highlighted the consistent efforts of the Ministry of Health in the field of tobacco control in the past decade, and the development of a new national tobacco control strategy that is currently under intergovernmental review.

Dr Melita Vujnovic, WHO Representative for the Russian Federation, expressed the support of WHO for the comprehensive tobacco control measures implemented by the Russian Ministry of Health, and described the threat to sustainable development in all countries posed by tobacco, through its impact on the national economy and public health.

The Russian Federation has demonstrated significant progress in reducing tobacco consumption and making a step towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 3.4. Nevertheless, continuing to strengthen the implementation of the WHO FCTC in all countries, including Russia, remains crucial and should be led by countries.

Funding for the GATS work was provided by the Ministry of Health and WHO/Europe. Technical assistance was provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO.