Like the coffee or tea break in the West, the perekur is one of the favorite indulgences of Soviet workers, a time set aside for them to light up their favorite smokes. Older Russians usually prefer a cigarette called papirosa—a pungent blend of black, sun-cured tobacco with a hollow paper mouthpiece. Younger Russians tend to smoke a Western-style (though stronger than U.S. brands) filter tip. Despite all the evidence linking it with lung cancer, heart disease and respiratory ailments, smoking has been rising steadily in the U.S.S.R. Alarmed by this threat to the nation's health, Soviet officials recently began a tough...

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