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Ukraine’s New Tobacco Control Law Will Drive Down Smoking Rates and Save Lives

Statement of Joshua Abrams, Regional Director for Eurasia, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
January 06, 2022

Washington, DC – Ukraine’s President Zelensky today signed a sweeping new tobacco control law that will save lives and protect millions of Ukrainians from the deadly harms of tobacco use. After nearly two years of deliberations, the law is a significant victory for the Ukrainian government and public health advocates.   

The new law applies strict regulations to cigarettes and new products like heated cigarettes and e-cigarettes, which have increasingly been used by tobacco companies to undermine strong public health laws. Under the new law, smoking and e-cigarette use will be prohibited in enclosed public spaces. Additionally, the law bans the advertising, promotion and sponsorship of all tobacco products; increases the size of warning labels required on cigarettes, heated cigarettes and e-cigarettes; and bans flavored products – a significant step to protect Ukrainian youth.

For decades, tobacco companies have used strategies like youth-oriented marketing and flavors to lure young people into a lifetime of addiction. Ukraine’s new measures send a strong message to Big Tobacco that Ukraine will not allow its youth to face this fate.

More than 40% of Ukrainian men smoke and approximately 130,000 Ukrainians die from tobacco-related diseases each year. Ukraine’s new law is a significant step in curbing this deadly toll and will also align the country’s tobacco control measures with member states of the European Union. These measures include regulations on nicotine content and emission levels from tobacco products.

Tobacco companies fight hardest against the measure they know work to drive down tobacco use and Ukraine’s law was no exception. Tobacco companies fought tooth and nail to interfere with the law, seeking to weaken measures and delay the legislative process.

We applaud the Ukrainian government for choosing the health and lives of all Ukrainians over the interests of Big Tobacco companies.