People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- April 16, 2013
Andrii Skipalskyi is chairman of the board (executive director) of the Regional Advocacy Centre LIFE – a non-profit, non-governmental organisation that provides advocacy and tobacco control expertise in Ukraine and the eastern European region.
LIFE also serves as the secretariat and resource centre for the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Ukraine, a coalition of over 100 organizations, and manages a tobacco control press centre with ties to over 200 national and regional media.
Read on to find out more about Andrii's work:
How long have you been involved in tobacco control?
I have worked with LIFE since 2010, providing overall management for the Smoke Free Ukraine project, funded by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. I also regularly publish articles in national newspapers focused on tobacco industry interference, tobacco control and public advocacy. Prior to this, I worked in international technical assistance projects in the field of social investments, advocacy, anti-corruption and media development, since 2000.
What are some of the highlights of your work?
Since the beginning of the project in 2008, the LIFE team has achieved several unprecedented victories over the tobacco industry in favour of public health. For example:
- In 2012, Ukraine adopted comprehensive smoke-free legislation with a complete ban on indoor smoking in all work places, including cafes, bars and restaurants. The legislation came into effect on 16 December 2012, and the compliance level as of January 2013 is 93 percent!
- Also in 2012, Ukraine adopted a comprehensive tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship ban. It came into effect on 16 September 2012, and the compliance level as of November 2012 was 95 percent.
- In 2011, Ukraine finally adopted regulations that obliged tobacco producers to place pictorial warning labels on cigarette packs. Starting 4 October 2012 all packs have a graphic warning covering 50 percent of the pack on one side and a text warning of the same size on the other side.
- In 2008-2010, Ukraine increase taxes numerous times, resulting in tobacco prices growing 200 percent.
What are some of your current priorities?
LIFE conducts continuous TI monitoring, and responds to the industry's efforts to discredit tobacco control activities. As the result of effective tobacco control advocacy, smoking prevalence has fallen drastically, dropping Ukraine from the country with the 4th highest rate of smoking (2006) to 24th place (2011) according to the WHO.
Where do you see your organisation, and tobacco control, going in coming years?
LIFE set its main strategic objective for 2009-2014 as the adoption of necessary legislation to comply with the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control, which Ukraine ratified in 2006. Other strategic objectives include:
- effective implementation and monitoring of the comprehensive ad ban, smoke-free legislation and pictorial warnings;
- further tobacco tax increase in 2013;
- preventing TI interference in health care sector policies.