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On the cover
Ļ7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidanís three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countryís stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard Ė and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.



The Smoking Dilemma In Ukraine

With cigarettes costing somewhere around 5hrv, added to the fact that you can smoke virtually anywhere, trying to cut out the deadly habit isnít easy in Ukraine. With the country suffering from serious demographic problems, which are likely only to get worse in coming years, it may well be time for the Ukrainian government to follow the example of many other countries, and introduce a blanket ban. As a smoker who would dearly love to quit, I would welcome any moves in this direction.

If I believed in the concept of evil then tobacco companies would be the embodiment of Satan on earth. When it comes to headcount, cigarette manufacturers outrank the likes of Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Harold Shipman and Ukraineís very own Andrei Chikatilo (known as the Butcher of Rostov, or The Red Ripper) and every other serial killer you could think of, put together! However, unlike the aforementioned multiple murderers, tobacco companies are not deeply deranged psychotics, they do it all in the name of profit and greed. And they do it legally. You may gather from this opening paragraph that I donít like tobacco companies. I donít care how much they spend on Corporate Social Responsibility, they profit from killing people, and thatís just plain bad. And yet Iíve contributed to their profits every single day of my life since the age of fifteen. Yes, I am addicted to nicotine and despite many attempts to quit, including trying all types of remedies and products supposed to assist in the process, I smoke somewhere between twenty and forty cancer sticks a day. On a good day, my count will be as low as fifteen, but put a beer in my hand (which happens all too often) and I pretty much chain smoke until my lungs bleed. Now, Iíve always been a healthy chap. I ran marathons when I was younger, and even though I canít run anymore due to bad knees, Iíve pretty much managed to keep myself fit by hiking and other activities, but these days my health has gone. I canít make it up the stairs to my fifth floor apartment without the assistance of an oxygen mask. The ironic thing is that, while I love living and working in Kyiv (being the editor of Whatís On has its perks), and Iíve no intention of leaving anytime soon, being here contributes greatly to my habit. Last time I was back in Scotland for a few months, before coming here, I was on the verge of quitting. There, cigarettes cost 6 quid a pack, more than ten times what they cost here, and about 75% of that is tax. While I resent paying the tobacco companies a penny, I also strongly resent paying 

 I donít see any reason why the Ukrainian government canít bring in a blanket ban on smoking like so many governments throughout the world have already done.

 another four-pounds-fifty (at least) every day in tax. That, on top of income tax, road tax, council tax, fuel duties, water charges, and all the other ways the government eats into your wages, was just too much for me and strongly fuelled my desire to quit. The Scottish parliament made it a whole lot easier for me by doing a brilliant thing: following the example set by Ireland, it passed a law banning smoking in all public places. As I said, my habit increases tenfold when Iím out having a beer with friends, but all of a sudden I couldnít spark up while supping my pint anymore: I had to go outside every time I wanted a fag. In Scotland, especially during the winter, thatís not something you want to do too often. So I didnít. Instead of going through a whole pack on a night out with friends, I would barely smoke 4 or 5, and that was usually on my way from one hostelry to another. The effect it had was amazing Ė no longer did I wake the next day with an aching throat and a wheeze, I could also physically feel myself getting fitter, food tasted better, the flowers smelled sweeter, and, most importantly of all, the psychological barrier to quitting Ė what-will-I-do-when-Iím-having- a-beer Ė was gone! Life was good. I was down to only a few smokes a day. I was no longer lining the pockets of the evil people who make the things. I was no longer paying an astronomical 2,340 quid a year in additional taxes to the British government (my average was about ten packs a week), and I was greatly reducing my chances of dropping dead from a heart attack or suffering the slow and tortuous death of lung cancer. Then I came to Kyiv, where cigarettes are the equivalent of 50p a pack, and you can smoke almost anywhere. This was not good. This was bad. Quickly my habit returned to full strength and even more.

 How To Stop
Thatís the big question, especially if you are as weak-willed as I am in this regard. Personally, I am working hard again at building up my resentment to the tobacco companies: fuelling my hate for them works well for me. There are of course numerous treatments on offer that will assist in the process. The misleadingly named nicotine replacement therapies such as gum and patches are very popular, but donít be fooled, they donít offer a replacement to nicotine; they continue to supply you with the harmful and highly addictive drug. My personal experience with such devices is they worked well while I was using them, but as soon as I stopped I would find myself suddenly gasping for a cigarette. New Age treatments like acupuncture and hypnotism are also on offer in Kyiv, and while I have never tried these myself, I do know a lot of people who have. Once, some time ago, a crowd of smokers I worked with went to see a hypnotist who guaranteed his service by offering a refund if it didnít work. They all came back asserting they were now nonsmokers and would remain so for life. The following day, every one of them was smoking again, and the promised refund never materialised. Such treatments may work, but only with numerous sessions and a significant financial outlay. An interesting treatment that has appeared on the market in recent years is the drug Zyban. This was initially developed as an anti-depressant, but turned out not to be too successful in that area. It was, however, noted in clinical trials that 30% of those taking part stopped smoking while using the drug. No one knows quite why it works, but the idea is to take the drug and continue smoking for about ten days. On the tenth day your desire to smoke will be greatly reduced, and in some cases nonexistent. Iíve known several people who have quit successfully using the drug, including a good friend of mine here in Kyiv (although he still sometimes has a sneaky one when weíre having curry and beer), but unfortunately, it didnít work for me. It is recommended that self-help information also be used in conjunction with the drug. Talking about self-help, there are now loads of books on the market that claim to make quitting easy. Probably the most successful is Alan Carrís ĎThe Easy Way to Stop Smokingí. Youíve guessed it, I read it, and I still smoke. It is basically, as are many of the other titles, a long-winded way of saying you smoke because youíre addicted to nicotine, and that once you realise it and decide not to be, you can stop. Well, duh! Honestly though, it does have some useful Ďdeprogrammingí information in it which is well worth knowing. Often, for most people, the only way to quit is to set your mind to it and go cold turkey (and a large amount of cold turkeys are needed in conjunction with any of the above-named methods in my experience). The physical addiction to nicotine is, after all, very small, and it

 All of a sudden I couldnít spark up while supping my pint anymore: I had to go outside every time I wanted a fag.

 is the mental addiction one really has to battle with. And who among us doesnít have the will power for that? Well, me for one by the looks of things. The main problem for me and those around me, is that Iím a grumpy bugger at the best of times, and my experience of coming off cigarettes cold turkey is that my grumpiness increases tenfold, and I wouldnít subject anyone to that. The truth is, the government can help here. I was totally against the vast increases in taxes the British government imposed on cigarettes when it was happening, but now I canít help but think it encourages people to quit. More importantly, I donít see any reason why the Ukrainian government canít bring in a blanket ban on smoking like so many governments throughout the world have already done. It will save lives. Last weekend I was at a birthday party in a shashlyk restaurant in Hydropark. You couldnít smoke in the place. You had to go outside for a puff. It was great!

 Neil Campbell

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Comments (7)
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Heloise | 26.06.2011 20:52

You have shed a ray of susnnihe into the forum. Thanks!

Melady | 04.06.2008 09:08

I want to quit sometimes but I need a stimulation to do it. For women good stimulation is preparation to have a baby :) or even several babies. I\'m sure there are even more reasons to quit - readiness of the smoker is very important but I know people who quit, went to gym, started healthy way of life and are happy :)

Johnny Y | 03.06.2008 18:20

Some good points in the OpEd. The World Health Organization did a study and found that the two most effective policies to reduce smoking are
Higher taxes, hence increasing the price of cigarettes
Limiting smoking in public place

I smoked for most of my life and have had great difficulty quitting. I quit for almost 4 years beginning in 2001, but was stupid enough to have that one puff and go back to smoking.

Now I am 5 months into a quit and I am committed to staying smokeless. A successful quit is usually a combination of things. What is most important for the soon to be ex-smoker is that they believe in themselves and that they never quit quitting. I had 1,000+ busted quits before I finally got traction.

Online forums helped me a lot. This allows people to interact on a semi anonymous level. A couple good sites are the following:


Allen Carrís book helped me very much. If is doesnít sink in the first time, read it again. I had to read it 3 times before I go the point.


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Read also:
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  • Letter to the President
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  • Ukraineís Rising Xenophobia
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnít Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer≠sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they donít understand the meaning of these words.

    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street Ė the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades Ė childrenís favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whatís On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


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