Almost one-fifth of Russian kids under 10 are smokers

Some 16% of juveniles in Russia begin smoking before age 10, with almost one-third (27%) of pupils in senior classes being smokers. Those facts were put forward by Sergei Lovitsky, a specialist with the Health Committee of the Saint Petersburg Administration at a roundtable on 'Society's View of the Problem of Teen Smoking,' Rosbalt reported. The roundtable was held at the press centre of 'Regional Elections-2003.' He said that teens who have begun to smoke by age 15 reduce their life expectancies by 8-9 years and risk not surviving through age 65. Lovitsky noted that approximately a million people in Russia die each year of illnesses related to smoking. 'This is more than die from drugs or AIDS,' the specialist insisted. 'Smoking is a systemic narcotic, and it has to be fought just as drug addiction is.'

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