Nicotine interests

2018-05-23

Romir continues to research the behavior of the smokers in Russia in cooperation with the supporting fund of "Russian Society of Doctors". For the last three years the law prohibiting smoking in public areas has become fully operational. It is an interesting dynamics on tobacco consumption in such restricted conditions. Besides, we can observe the emergence and development of nicotinic products as an alternative.

According to the data, obtained from the Romir Scan Panel*, the number of smokers among Russians is gradually decreasing. In particular, the share of the smokers has decreased from 40% in 2013 to 31% in 2018 – by one third.

For the beginning of this year 42% of the men and 13% of the women could have been considered as the smokers (smoking more than three cigarettes per day). Moreover, the average number of daily smoked cigarettes is significantly higher than the minimum threshold – 17 pieces, and, in so doing, this figure is 18 among the men and 15 among the women.

It is worth mentioning that the decrease of the smokers’ share has been slowing down over the last year. It can be explained by the smokers’ switch to other kinds of tobacco products – hookahs, electronic cigarettes / vapes, tobacco heating systems. According to Romir Scan Panel data, the share of smokers who use alternative nicotine products has increased from 4% in 2016 to 11% in 2018. Moreover, one-third of them consume nicotine products every day.  

Separately worth noting the spread of electronic cigarettes, vapes and tobacco heating systems among the youth (18-24 y.o.), where one in four (25%) smokers use such “substitutes”. The same figures were observed according to the hookahs. However, if the smoking of hookahs is likely connected with the legality issue – it is allowed to smoke hookahs in HoReCa (bars and restaurants), in spreading of the other alternatives we can see the trend in switching from the cigarettes. And it is likely that this trend will develop.

Scan Panel Data is also supported by the results of the poll**, held at the beginning of the year. Thus, almost one-third (32%) of the smokers is interested in other nicotine products, in addition to the cigarettes, - vapes (19%), one-time cigarettes (18%), electronic cigarettes with changeable cartridges (10%), tobacco heating system (10%). One-fourth (26%) of the smokers is also smoking hookahs.

The survey has shown that nine in ten (88%) smokers, for once, have thought about quitting smoking cigarettes. Among the reasons they’ve mentioned concern for their health (92%), economic reasons (48%), concern for the health of other people (30%).

Moreover, more than three-quarters of the smokers (77%) have made real effort to give up smoking. The average number of such efforts is 3. In 80% of cases the people who were giving up smoking have tried to replace cigarettes with something else – sunflower seeds, candies, gum. One-fourth of the people who were giving up smoking (24%) have tried the acupuncture, 4% have tried to embrace the powers of persuasion of the specialized literature. 23% have used their own force of will.

Another 23% of the efforts were related to the alternative nicotine products – electronic cigarettes, vapes and tobacco heating systems. 24% have tried the nicotine replacement therapy – gums, candies, plasters, inhalers and medicine which help to fight the craving for cigarettes. However, the majority of the smokers claim these aids to be ineffective. 10-28% (depending on a product) show a special interest for the alternative nicotine products.

Nonetheless, the main disincentive of the alternative nicotine products is that they are poorly studied (58%), insufficient information in its effects (52%). The significant number of the respondents is ready to believe in the reliability of the data, if it would be received from the Russian Ministry of Health Care (53%), the WHO (44%) or other prestigious Russian institutes (42%).  

* Romir Scan Panel, the research scan panel of households, is based on the consumption data of more than 40 000 Russians (15 000 households in 220 cities with the population over 10 thousand people) who represent the customer and consumer behavior of the Russian cities’ residents. Panel participants scan the barcodes of all purchased goods which are taken home and tell us about their incomes. The data gets into the database in the online mode and then is automatically processed.

** The poll surveyed 1500 respondents who consume tobacco and nicotine products. The age is 18 y.o. and over, the respondents reside in all federal districts and all types of cities.