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Kazakhstan smokes 9 cigarettes a day per capita

22 march 2013, 13:34
0
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
9 smoked cigarettes a day fall per each citizen of Kazakhstan, Tengrinews.kz reports citing the press-service of the national coalition For Smoking-Free Kazakhstan!

The coalition notes that the use of tobacco by Kazakhstan citizens has grown over 8-fold over the past years. 65.3 percent of men and 20 percent of women of reproductive age in Kazakhstan are smokers. There are smokers even among 8-y.o. children. The economic losses of the country from tobacco significantly exceed the incomes from tobacco taxes. The government spends over 76 billion tenge ($507 million) per year on treatment of diseases caused by smoking.

Cigarettes, not being the essential products, are sold in all the stores, supermarkets and markets, as well as at bus stops, newsstands, mobile stores and canteens that should sell food only. “You can buy a cheap and nice-looking pack of cigarettes wherever you go,” the press-service writes.

Earlier Kazakhstan entrepreneurs stood against the draft law of Kazakhstan Healthcare Ministry banning tobacco sales within 500m from educational, healthcare and sport facilities. According to the chairman of the trade union of trade and service organizations Zhibek Azhibayeva, such measure would send small sellers bankrupt and would create conditions for corruption.

According to the chairman, around 60 thousand retail shops in Kazakhstan are selling cigarettes and at least 80 percent of them will suffer from the new measures. In case of adoption of the suggested ban, the tax deductions into the country’s budget would lower as well.

Meanwhile, the coalition notes that such figures demonstrate the extent to which the Kazakhstan market is occupied with tobacco goods. According to the statements of the opponents of the ban, cigarette sales in many shops are responsible for up to 40 percent of their incomes. The coalition believes that this confirms “the huge profitability of tobacco goods sales and exceptional domination of cigarettes in Kazakhstan citizen’s food basket over such important food products like bread, milk and butter”.

“Kazakhstan has in several years turned into one big uncontrolled market occupied by tobacco goods of all sorts, which once again stresses the necessity of toughening the control measures and limitation of access to tobacco goods, especially for young people and children,” the coalition notes.

The organization fully supports adoption of the new amendments, as well as the suggestion to limit cigarette sales to specialized stores to make the turnover of tobacco goods more transparent and regulated by the government.

The coalition is giving examples of successful cases of control over sales of tobacco goods around the world: sales of alcohol and tobacco are banned in in the radius of 500m from schools, hospitals and sport facilities in Sweden, sales of alcohol and tobacco have been fully banned in Norway since 2000 - cigarettes can only be bought in the pharmacies under a doctor’s prescription.

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