Owing to the advocacy campaigns conducted by the LIFE in 2019, cigarette sales decreased by 11 billion units or 20% compared to 2018. Also the state budget received UAH 44.14 billion from tobacco excise taxes, which is a 0.6 billion or 1.3% increase over 2018.
The current legislation provides for an annual increase of the excise duty rate by 20% for the period up to 2025. Therefore, from January 1, 2020, the excise duty on cigarettes and other ordinary tobacco products has increased by another 20%.
In 2017 – 2020, NGO “LIFE” implemented a successful advocacy campaign to support raising tobacco taxes for heating and electronic cigarettes starting from 2021. These changes will significantly reduce the prevalence of smoking among children and young people.
In 2017, the Parliament of Ukraine approved a plan to increase excise taxes on tobacco products by 2025 to achieve a minimum EU tax rate for cigarettes to reduce the prevalence of smoking and death from tobacco-related diseases.
Today the main implementation of Article 12 of the WHO FCTC (informing the population about the risks associated with tobacco use) in Ukraine is carried out mainly by NGOs, with the financial support of international organizations. During 2017 – 2019, LIFE developed and implemented effective anti-tobacco information campaigns in Ukraine. These activities were carried out in collaboration with the National and Regional Public Health Centers and with the support of the international organization Vital Strategies.
During 2017 – 2018, LIFE conducted an information campaign “Tobacco Corporations Hunt for Children”, explained the harm of using aggressive advertising tools for the sale of cigarettes, aimed primarily at children and teenagers.
In 2018, LIFE conducted an information campaign “Smoking Hookah Kills”, aimed at raising public awareness of the harm of smoking hookah.
During 2019, two information campaigns were conducted:
- “Quit smoking until it’s too late!” to disseminate information on National smoking cessation service;
- “Smoke is an invisible killer” to raise public awareness of danger of second-hand smoke inhalation (the first national tobacco awareness campaign covering more than 20 million people).
Before and after the campaign Smoke the Invisible Killer, nationally LIFE conducted representative surveys of the population, which showed that Ukrainians were gradually changing their behavior towards smoking under the influence of the information campaign.
The effective collaboration and positive results of this campaign contributed to the inclusion in the National Center for Public Health’s priorities of the annual national media campaigns on the dangers of tobacco. For the first time in 2020, funding from the state budget for an information campaign aimed at combating tobacco products is planned.
Countering the tobacco industry's interference with health policy
In 2011, LIFE launched the Golden Scythe Anti-Award for tobacco lobbyists in the Parliament and the Government for their protection of interests of tobacco corporations. Nine members of the Parliament received this Anti-Award, and only one of them was re-elected in 2014.
In 2015, due to the active actions of LIFE, the Government withdrew its claim in the WTO against Australia to introduce standardized packaging of cigarettes. The claim was initiated because of the lobbying influence of tobacco companies on the Government.
In 2019, LIFE conducted a survey of the Global Index of Tobacco Industry Interference. Ukraine ranked 15th place in this index receiving 61 points. The report identified cases of obvious pressure from the tobacco industry on health policy-making and also non-compliance with Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
In 2020, LIFE launched the Tobacco Tactics Tobacco Industry Monitoring Center to actively counteract tobacco lobbying. This web-site contains an analysis of the tobacco industry, tasks, methods of government policy interference, which is a direct violation of the law.
Release of public places from tobacco smoke
On December 16, 2012, the ban on smoking cigarettes, hookahs and e-cigarettes in restaurants has entered into force.
According to the Global Adult Survey on Tobacco Consumption in 2010, 62.1% of Ukrainians were exposed to tobacco smoke in cafes, bars and restaurants – this indicator dropped to 24% in 2017.
Prohibition of tobacco advertising
Since September 16, 2012, all types of advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products have been banned in Ukraine. Cigarette advertising has disappeared from television, billboards and magazines. Tobacco companies no longer sponsor mass events.
Medical warnings on packs of cigarettes
On June 16, 2009, Parliament voted in favor of amending the law on the introduction of a new label on cigarette packs: 50% of the surface of the pack contains the text warning “Smoking kills” on one side, and the image about the danger of smoking on the other. On October 4, 2012, these changes took effect.
Since November 4, 2012, cigarette packs have been issued with a 50% hazard warning on the surface: a text message “Smoking kills” is printed on one side, and a color graphic on the effects of smoking is printed on the other.
LIFE also implements the project Ukrainian Center for Tobacco Control, aimed at monitoring, expertise and professional analysis of certain areas of tobacco control, as well as developing expert proposals to strengthen and enforce the tobacco legislation of Ukraine to reduce the consumption of tobacco products in Ukraine and reducing the prevalence of smoking. The Centre’s activities are based on key strategies of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which Ukraine ratified in 2006.
NGO Life coordinates the work of the National Smoking Cessation Service.
In 2017-2019, more than 9,000 hotline requests were received, and more than 45,000 customers visited the web-site. The rate of successful refusals for the first year of service was 12.5% (customers who quit smoking and lasted 6 months or more).