Tightening of tobacco control policies in the 2010s in Russia for the first time in the post-Soviet period led to a significant decrease in the smoking prevalence. However, this decline mainly affected men. Why are Russian women less responsive to tobacco control poli-cies? Why rising tobacco prices and banning smoking in public places had virtually no effect on female smoking? In this study, an attempt was made to look at smoking at the microlevel,
in terms of individual and household characteristics. As an empirical base, we used data from the representative national survey — Russian Monitoring of the Economic Situation and Health of the National Research University Higher School of Economics for 2017. The results confirm the hypothesis of a less mature stage of the smoking epidemic among women compared with men: female smoking is still concentrated in relatively more privileged groups, namely in urban areas and particularly in the major cities. In addition, for women, the effect of reducing the risks of smoking for respondents with higher education is significantly less noticeable. A complex relationship was found between smoking, overweight and age. According to the obtained results, in younger-age group the body mass index (BMI) for female smokers is higher than for non-smokers. Only by the age of 45—50, the effects of smoking start to affect the weight, and the BMI for smokers becomes relatively lower. For men, differences in BMI at younger ages are practically absent. This suggests that smoking is more often used by women as a hypothetical means of combating obesity, and the fear of gaining weight is one of the reasons for not quitting smoking. The study also revealed a significant positive relationship between smoking and alcohol abuse, which probably suggests that smokers are less risk averse. This, in turn, may indicate a greater effectiveness of active, restrictive tobacco control measures in comparison with various educational and preventive programs.
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