I had a meeting with a friend at a local popular restaurant and hangout spot.

Was called over by two girls who wanted to know me since I was speaking English and they overheard me. So I went over and sat down..

Ughh.. Turnoff time..

They immediately started sparking up these very nasty cigarettes that had all the appeal of a cheap lucky strike pack of smokes. and it starts drifting my way.. I start to wave it away and they get the message so they try in vain to blow the smoke away in the other direction. No use..

Anyways it reminded me that I should mention that smoking and drinking are rampant in this country. Among Russian women smoking is picking up lots of steam thanks to our friendly International American Tobacco executives who comb the world looking for more souls to steal..

The advertising and promotions for American cigarettes would raise eyebrows in the states but unfortunately there seems to be no government program to discourage smoking or to combat the “hip” & “sophisticated” image it has for these women. Most girls start between the ages of 14 and 19 and then they actually start to believe their own propaganda that “it’s fashionable to smoke”. Tragic yes..

So from my own experience here I would unfortunately rate the percentage of women smoking at around 50 percent. The good news is that many of them are what we would consider lite smokers and only spark up socially.

Again the worst part of this whole deal is the mentality they have that smoking is no different from a fashion accessory.. and god knows these women will do anything to be fashionable which is both a blessing and a curse.

So if you are coming over to meet one of these ladies she may be the sweetest thing you’ve ever met but don’t be surprised if she lites one up in front of you during a meal or a night out. Make it clear from the beginning that you are not a smoker or don’t be afraid to actually tell them that smoke really bothers you if you are a non-smoker like me.

Now here’s an insight that I’ll share with you… and it just may apply to a whole realm of smokers not just with the Russian girls here. I’ve noticed that the Russian girls who smoke generally have more issues with trying to figure out their own identity.

In other words they are generally more insecure even if they are trying very hard to mask it by trying to look cool. I’ve met non-smoking Russian girls with identity issues too but there is easily a far greater percentage of smokers who fall in this realm..

Smoking is one of those western influences.. like MTV that I wish I could just make disappear from Russian soil and from Russian hearts and minds…

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