Objectives: We sought to provide comparative data on smoking habits in countries of the former Soviet Union.
Methods: We conducted cross-sectional surveys in 8 former Soviet countries with representative national samples of the population 18 years or older.
Results: Smoking rates varied among men, from 43.3% to 65.3% among the countries examined. Results showed that smoking among women remains uncommon in Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Moldova (rates of 2.4%-6.3%). In Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia, rates were higher (9.3%-15.5%). Men start smoking at significantly younger ages than women, smoke more cigarettes per day, and are more likely to be nicotine dependent.
Conclusions: Smoking rates among men in these countries have been high for some time and remain among the highest in the world. Smoking rates among women have increased from previous years and appear to reflect transnational tobacco company activity.