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Smokers speak of scary pics on cigarette packs

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By Anastassiya Pastukhova

Government has required all tobacco producers to picture symptoms of diseases that may come from smoking on cigarette packs lately. 

Twelve of such decorations have been validated by a government ruling.

Psychological violence
We did a brief polling among local smokers - How strong is the effect from these pictures on you and are you ready to give up now?

Lukpan, 39, smoking years - 21: Can't make it out how a human may get gangrene from smoking, why do they lie to us? I myself have tried to give up a number of times to no success. I am not against the pictures. They may prevent from continuing those who have just started.

Andrei, 30, smoking years - 10: The most scary to me was the one about impotence. I am going to give up, but I have to stop drinking first. Once you're drunk you want to puff one or two and the fear of impotence retreats then.

Zaurbek, 45, smoking years - 30: I don't like looking at these pictures. I started in teen age and it is unlikely that I will give up - I have no power of will.

Pavel, 51, smoking years - 33: These pictures do not frighten me, just nasty. Won't give up.

Zarina, 25, smoking years - 5: Every time buying a pack I see a new picture. I think smokers are just being zombified and set prepared for cancer, early ageing and disability. It's a psychological violence on us. If I want I smoke, if don't I won't. Who cares? I am not going to smoke for all my life of course, once I am pregnant I will stop so to have a healthy baby.

Venera, smoking years - 13: They wanted to frighten us and they succeeded. But they offered nothing to help us out of addiction. I think, if they had raised prices on cigarettes it would have been much effective. I wouldn't buy one for 500 tenge, too expensive. For now I just started reading Allen Carr's The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.

Marat, 35: I read somewhere that health of a nation can be improved by scary notes on cigarette packs. Such logic suggests that if officials hang a slogan like Long-lasting Greed Shortens Your Outside Life or Corruption Causes Degradation of Nation in their offices instead of the president's picture, they will turn corruption-negative.

Smoking population of Kazakhstan counts 4.2 million people. For every three smoking men there is one female smoker.

According to National Healthy Lifestyle Forming Center, 25,000 Kazakh citizens die from smoking related causes every year.


Optimism from ministry

We asked the manager of Pathoanatomical Bureau Issatai Muldagaliyev, a smoker too, how often they encounter those who died from smoking.

"In my 36 years here I saw no one who died from smoking. There are changes in lungs, but direct cause of death normally is not related to smoking," he says.

"Many come here seeking way to quit smoking. I myself do not smoke, but believe these pictures may be a constraining factor," says Svetlana Dobrynina, a superintendant in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.

Is there a possibility that scary pictures can affect the psychology of a smoke addict to the degree that he or she becomes more predisposed to cancer?

"Such thing might happen."

Inspired by expert studies, Health Ministry deems the idea with optimism expecting that these pictures will help liberate nearly a million people in Kazakhstan from the cigarette trap.


July 5 2013, 09:47

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