The proportion of people who smoke in Moscow (probarbly all of Russian actually) seems much higher than it is. I live overlooking a metro station in central Moscow and (depending on the time of day) the proportion of smokers Vs non smokers is about 60 / 40! Really, it is! I can explain though.
As smoking is not allowed on the metro and people generally spend at least 15 and up to 60 minutes underground, smokers are usually gasping for a nicotine fix by the time they finish riding the long, long escalators to the nice fresh air above. As soon as the chance arrises they light up joinging those at the begining of thier journey who are taking their last puffs before making the descent into the metro. As a result of this some times frenzied smoking the average passer by has little option but to catch a couple of breaths of second hand smoke as a hazardous by product of using the Moscow Metro.
Another scene that takes some getting used to is seeing people walking and smoking. Just beyond the metro is the most obvious place to see this of course. The amount of people that I have seen walking at a brisk pace, not just wandering around smoking is amazing. It’s like a double trauma to the body, increase the heart rate and at the same time replace the oxygen that your body is trying to get with smoke???
The final most amazing scene unfolded this evening while I was cycling along the Moscow river approaching the Kremlin. It was about 24 degrees c with a slight breeze rippling the river making the sunset very impressive indeed, perfect cycling weather in a perfect setting. I approached a young girl (about 17 or 18 years old) riding along at a not to fast, not to slow pace and as I got closer I could smell cigar smoke. Sure enough there she was cruising along smoking a thin cigar! Now that is taking smoking just a bit too far I think.
Just to finish off. I’m not out to change the world about smoking I just can’t believe that people spend so much time trying to live in environmentally healthy areas, complain when nasty air conditioning systems make them sick, complain when someone has bad BO near them (especially so on the metro!) and then light up creating a mini poison zone all around them???