Past the bad habits: is it worth introducing a ban on smoking until the age of 21

Past the bad habits: is it worth introducing a ban on smoking until the age of 21

Past the bad habits: is it worth introducing a ban on smoking until the age of 21
Analytics

1 September, 13:50
The author of the project "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia" Dmitry Davydov proposes to completely stop the sale of cigarettes and tobacco to young people under 21, as well as to introduce a system of educational and punitive measures for smoking teenagers.

Ivan Petrovsky

The full text of Dmitry Davydov's proposals addressed to the Russian authorities and the public can be found on the project website.

CHILDREN'S SMOKING: EARLY STARTING - NEVER QUITTING?

Well, we will start with the personal experience of the author of these lines, who, alas, is a heavy smoker with 45 years of experience.

I tried my first cigarette at the age of 15, while still in a Soviet school. Then the "cool" high school students openly pitched in during the breaks and no one forbade them anything. And why, if smoking in the USSR was almost an obligatory male "dignity" ?! The general secretaries of the CPSU smoked, all the positive characters of the films smoked, doctors, teachers smoked ... In the army, 18-year-old recruits relied on "legitimate" cigarettes. Smoking rooms are full at factories. In offices and offices smoked without getting up from the workplace. In the editorial office of the newspaper, where I joined at the age of 21, out of 200 employees, only the editor-in-chief and two typists did not smoke. The rest let out smoke so that at least hang an ax in the offices...

The result is sad: by the age of 50, he developed severe asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is considered an incurable disease and sooner or later makes a person disabled.

Did I want to quit smoking? Yes! And more than once! But even doctors honestly said that getting rid of bad habits acquired in childhood (that is, before the age of 21) is much more difficult and painful than those that a person picked up in adulthood.

- Here comes elementary physiology: by the age of 21, the formation of the frontal lobes of the brain ends. If you start smoking and drinking at an earlier age, then there is a deep deformation of the brain. - the Chairman of the regional movement "Interregional Parents' Meeting" German Avdyushin is sure.

According to experts, the number of problems caused by smoking children, adolescents and young men under 21 years of age, does not fit into a simple enumeration. Nicotine and toxic tars act on almost all organs. But it is especially worth noting the violation of the reproductive function.

"Girls have their menstrual cycle disturbed, which further negatively affects the ability to conceive. According to statistics, if a girl does not quit smoking even when she becomes pregnant, then she often gives birth to children with malformations, and premature births are observed 6 times more often than among non-smoking women. In young men, the toxic products of tobacco combustion slow down the synthesis of testosterone, the main male hormone that plays a key role in the onset of puberty. Suppression of sperm activity often leads to male infertility", - Professor, member of the International Academy of Sobriety Natalya Grinchenko notes in an interview with NI.

According to experts from the Ministry of Health, in Russia, the average age of starting tobacco smoking is 17–19 years, and the consumption of other nicotine-containing products begins at the age of 12–15 years.

In 2015, WHO conducted a study on the prevalence of tobacco in Russia among schoolchildren in five cities. It was found that on average 15.1% of children aged 13-15 regularly use tobacco products. Among university and college students, about 75% of boys and 55% of girls suffer from nicotine addiction.

Thus, the problem is nationwide.

IS IT POSSIBLE TO FIGHT CHILDREN'S SMOKING EFFECTIVELY?

This question is asked by millions of parents whose children are drawn to cigarettes and vapes even in non-smoking families, and doctors, and politicians. At the same time, a pessimistic view of the solution of the problem prevails in Russian society: they say that you can’t put a policeman at every stall, and “resourceful” teenagers will always find the desired poison.

In fact, Dmitry Davydov is sure that very effective measures to combat smoking have already been successfully tested in the world.

On December 20, 2019, a law came into force in the United States prohibiting the sale of cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products to persons under the age of 21. In just one year, their consumption among school and college students decreased by 28%, from 6.2 million in 2019 to 4.47 million in 2020. To avoid cases where a violating seller is justified by the fact that the customer looks 21 years old , the regulatory authority in the United States requires all buyers under the age of 27 to request documents. And in case of violations, the trader can be fined from 300 to 12 thousand (!!) dollars.

In Singapore, as of January 1, 2021, the legal age to buy, use, possess, sell and supply tobacco products has been raised from 20 to 21 years. The rise from 19 to 20 years old took place on January 1, 2020, and from 18 to 19 years old on January 1, 2019. A person under the age of 21 caught consuming, buying or possessing tobacco is liable to a fine of up to SGD 300 (RUB 17,000).

Also in Singapore, the IQuit National Program for Getting Rid of Nicotine Addiction has been developed: consultants in clinics and specialized pharmacies register a smoker and draw up an individual program depending on his profile, as well as provide support to quit smoking by phone and through online communities. The percentage of smokers in Singapore is relatively low, and the measures taken, together with the strictness of the law, lead to a further decrease: in 2020, smokers became 10.1% compared to 10.6% in 2019.

It is worth noting that the majority of Singapore's population are ethnic Chinese, who in mainland China break records for the consumption of tobacco and cigarettes. This fact suggests that punitive and educational sanctions work successfully even in "difficult" countries. Hence the confidence of Dmitry Davydov that their success in Russia will be guaranteed. Unless, of course, legislative and administrative support from the state is provided.

In particular, proposed is the following:

  1. A year after the law was issued, raise the legal age for nicotine-containing products from 18 to 19, two years from 19 to 20, and three years to 21. Also, in a year, establish administrative liability for persons over 18 years old, but under the legal age, for the purchase, use and storage of nicotine-containing products.
  2. Raise the fine for involving citizens who have not reached the legal age in smoking. Now the fine is only 1,000–2,000 rubles, and for parents and legal representatives, 2,000–3,000 rubles. The measure of responsibility for such actions should be the same as for citizens who illegally sell cigarettes, that is, 20,000–40,000 rubles.
  3. For sellers of goods containing nicotine, for repeated violation within 12 months, in addition to the existing fine, establish a ban on the sale of nicotine-containing products for 6-12 months.

RESPONSE OF THE AUTHORITIES TO DMITRY DAVYDOV'S PROPOSALS

In April 2022, the author of the project received a response from the Chairman of the Committee on Social Policy of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation I.Yu. Svyatenko, in which the senator thanked Dmitry Davydov for his active citizenship, noting the importance of the problem.

In this regard, the Federation Council Committee began to collect statistical, analytical and other information indicating the ineffectiveness of existing measures to combat children's smoking. However, on the other hand, I. Svyatenko referred to the difficulties in introducing new fines, which, according to him, contradict the Constitution of the Russian Federation, since they restrict the rights of people over 18 years old.

In turn, Davydov replied on the website of his project:

"The Committee argues that Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, which establishes the right to participate in civil law relations, which includes the purchase of goods and services, does not allow raising the age for purchasing tobacco to 21 years, since this would mean restricting adults in exercising their rights. C it is difficult to accept such a statement, since, in fact, Article 26 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation establishes the right to independently manage their earnings, scholarships and other incomes without the consent of their parents at the age of 14 1 , and not at the age of 18. On the one hand, the law protects the right of adolescents from 14 years of age to spend personal funds for the purchase of certain goods in a store, which may include cigarettes.But, on the other hand, there is also a ban on the distribution of harmful products in their environment in order to prevent damage to health.It follows from this that between the articles of the Civil Code and There is no conflict with age limits in other laws, which means that raising the age limit to 21 for the sale of hazardous rare products will not be contrary to applicable law".

Thus, the issue is under discussion.

As for representatives of civil society, Davydov's proposals find many supporters.

Natalia Grinchenko, professor, member of the international academy of sobriety:

- "I fully support all proposals. We have a catastrophic demographic situation, we are dying out. And everywhere advertising alcohol, tobacco, drugs. Now the world is being reformatted, there is a struggle between good and evil. We have huge challenges ahead of us. It is necessary not only to raise the age of tobacco sales, but also to punish with a ruble. Those who treat teenagers with cigarettes are simply corrupting them. The proposed steps are fire measures. In Sweden, Norway and Finland you can't buy anything without showing your passport. If caught somewhere, you go to listen to a lecture on the dangers of smoking and to community service.

The legal age for selling cigarettes should be raised to 21. And I would also introduce a standard for the availability of purchases - to make specialized stores. In the USSR, tobacco was not sold along with products.

I fully support the initiative to raise fines. I spoke to a Swiss police officer and he told me that giving a teenager cigarettes is punishable.

It is necessary to fine and teach in rubles, I am absolutely sure of this. And be sure to send fines for prevention, as it happens in Finland. We always do not have enough money for this - for the training of teachers, the publication of special literature, the promotion of tobacco cessation, the prohibition of alcohol. Of course, we are, unfortunately, still far from a complete ban on alcohol and tobacco".

German Avdyushin:

- "These sentences are like truism. It has now been proven that smoking is harmful to children, adolescents and young adults. If this is poison, then why poison the youth. Naturally, all other consequences follow from this: the one who offers to get poisoned, or forces or does something else, does advertising in order to get poisoned, this can be attributed to drugs, he must be punished, fined. The whole fight against drugs is equivalent to the fight against smoking, the only smoking in terms of the degree of influence on the body is less than drugs. There can't be two opinions here".

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