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Survey results on the use of tobacco and nicotine products in Ukraine

On March 12, Advocacy Center “Life” NGO together with researchers of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) presented the results of the All-Ukrainian survey “Use of tobacco and nicotine products and attitude to anti-tobacco measures”, conducted in November–December 2023 as part of the regular “Omnibus”.


According to the survey, 30% of the population in Ukraine today use tobacco or nicotine products: 43% are men and 20% are women. 24.5% of Ukrainians are daily smokers (36% of men, and 15% of women).


Today, we note that the level of smoking in Ukraine remains stable (the percentage of smokers does not change), but there is a tendency to increase the consumption of tobacco and nicotine products among the female population — in 2019, 9.8% of Ukrainian women used tobacco and nicotine, today — 14.8% (the data of both surveys cannot be directly compared since different methods were used during the study, but the trend can still be followed). Among young women aged 18-29, this figure is twice as high — 28.4%. That is, today, actually every third girl is addicted to nicotine.


Among daily consumers, 79% smoke industrial cigarettes. This is followed by tobacco products for electric heating (18%) and electronic cigarettes (14%). The use of HTP and e-cigarettes is more common among young respondents: 37% of young people aged 18-29 use tobacco products for electric heating, and 36% use electronic cigarettes. Women are more likely than men to use tobacco products for electric heating (27% vs. 13%) and electronic cigarettes (25% vs. 11%).


“The survey results show that the majority of young people in Ukraine pay attention to the advertising of tobacco and nicotine products, although a large part of it is currently prohibited. Also, for the first time, we are observing parity between tobacco and nicotine users among men and women in the 18-29 age group, however, if the indicators remain stable for men, there has been a significant increase for the female population,” emphasized Oleksandr Shcherbatiuk, researcher, project coordinator of the Kyiv International Institute sociology.


The survey showed that it is the young population that most notices tobacco and nicotine advertising — 73% of young people aged 18-29. Further, this indicator decreases with each age group and falls to 19% among respondents aged 70 and older. This confirms that the advertising of tobacco and nicotine products is aimed at the youngest age group of men and women.


Demonstration of tobacco and nicotine products in places of trade is the main channel of advertising these products — 32% of respondents noted that they notice it. In second place are banner ads on the Internet (23%) and personal pages on social media (20%). Advertising on the street was seen by 14%. Respondents most often saw advertisements for traditional cigarettes and cigarettes for heating (35%), 31% were exposed to advertisements for devices for heating tobacco, 24% for electronic cigarettes, and another 10% for nicotine pouches.


“The tobacco industry is bringing back the tobacco epidemic among the youth. Tobacco company marketing preys on young women and men. The health of the population, and above all children and youth, is a matter of national security for restoring Ukraine's human capital. Support of anti-tobacco norms by the population of up to 80% is a signpost for the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in protecting Ukrainians from tobacco and nicotine,” emphasized Dmytro Kupyra, executive director of the “Life” NGO.


The majority of Ukrainians support anti-tobacco measures to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco.


The absolute majority of respondents support a ban on advertising brands of electronic smoking devices and e-cigarettes (79%) and a ban on the visible display of tobacco packages in places of sale (77%). Two-thirds of respondents support a ban on flavored tobacco products (67%) and tax increases to reduce affordability for children (65%). 61% of respondents support the introduction of standardized packaging.


“At the end of 2021, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the Anti-tobacco Law 1978-IX, which implemented the key provisions of the European Integration Directive 2014/40/EU. We can already see the results of the adopted changes with the appearance of updated medical warnings on cigarette packs. Despite these efforts, the tobacco industry continues to attract young people. With the absolute support of the citizens, we will offer the following package of proposals to the Parliament to protect the health of children and youth from narcotic tobacco and nicotine products. First, it is necessary to eliminate all forms of advertising, in particular, the visible placement of tobacco and nicotine products in places of sale and to ban flavor (fruit) additives that are not characteristic of tobacco products. Such steps are in line with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and Ukraine's European integration obligations,” said Lada Bulakh, People's Deputy of Ukraine, a member of the Committee on National Health, Medical Assistance and Medical Insurance.


The results of the survey highlighted possible factors influencing the prevalence of smoking in Ukraine and the growth of the use of the latest tobacco and nicotine products, as well as demonstrated significant public support for the immediate implementation of legislative measures to protect the young population. Smoking in Ukraine is the cause of 130,000 premature deaths every year from such diseases as heart attack, stroke, cancer, and others.


Using the following links you could read the presentation and the infographic.

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