british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2009 - Youth smoking prevention in Russia


Underage smoking is a large problem in Russia, which has one of the highest rates of youth smoking in the world. To help tackle this, British American Tobacco Russia has run a youth smoking prevention (YSP) programme since 1999, two years before minimum age legislation was first passed in the country.

The company supports industry-wide action to reduce underage access to cigarettes and works with other tobacco companies, NGO partners and government departments towards shared YSP objectives.

British American Tobacco Russia provides information to retailers encouraging them to take the issue of underage smoking seriously, to observe the minimum age law (of 18), and to refuse to sell tobacco products to the underage. Retailers are also provided with stickers to be placed at entrances and at the point of sale, stating that the retailer does not sell tobacco products to anyone under 18.

The caption ‘Sales to minors are prohibited’ is also printed on all cigarette packs that are manufactured or imported, and on all advertising and point of sale materials.

The YSP programme also includes seminars and round table discussions held by NGO partners, together with state authorities, which are supported by British American Tobacco Russia. In 2009, events for retailers were held in more then 30 cities including Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Khanty-Mansiysk, Vladivostok, Rostov-on-Don, Volgograd, Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. In 2009, British American Tobacco Russia also supported a Pan-Russia YSP Conference. Around 100 participants took part from across Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, including representatives from local and national government bodies, health organisations, businesses and retailers.

Other activities have focused on educating parents to understand the issue of youth smoking and how they can help prevent it.

British American Tobacco Russia measures the effectiveness of its YSP activities in several ways, including independent research to assess compliance with minimum age laws and evaluation of YSP educational events.