Gerasimenko is one of the architects of a Russian law on tobacco control. A one-time heavy smoker, he believes that anti-smoking campaigns targeting minors should start right at the tobacco stand.
According to sociological surveys, forty percent of Russia's high school students smoke these days and the percentage of smoking girls is beginning to exceed that of smoking boys. Tobacco production and sale are also on the increase: 141 billion cigarettes were produced in this country in 1996 whereas last year saw the output rise to 330 billion.
A total 380 billion tobacco products will be made and put on sale this year, Gerasimenko predicted.
Russia has become a real "tobacco power," ranking as the world's third largest tobacco producer, after China and the United States. The Russian tobacco market is controlled by as few as seven corporations, including five foreign ones, reported the MP.