The war against smoking has now spread to Russia as President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law to ban smoking in public places. The new law bans smoking in restaurants, cafes, long-distance trains and shared entrances to accommodation, such as flats and other communal hosing blocks.
Russia has finally decided to take smoking more seriously. Like many other countries, in Russia ill health due to smoking places a huge burden on the already struggling health care system. Currently Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world. Along with excessive drinking, smoking is killing millions of Russians, and leaving many with lingering chronic illnesses. It is estimated that around 40% of Russians smoke. This is not equally divided by gender though, as around 60% of men smoke (and 20% of women). Smoking is a major contributor to heart disease as well as lung disease and lung cancer.
Even with so many Russians smoking, the bill the create new laws to ban smoking were almost entirely accepted by parliament.
The new law is, “on protecting the health of citizens from the danger of passive smoking and the consequences of the use of tobacco”, will be enforced from 1st June 2013.
Ban: 15 m Radius from Entrances
Once the ban comes into effect it will be illegal to smoke within 15 metres of a public entrance,which includes, but is not limited to, railway stations, airports, metro stations, ports, offices and other workplaces, flats / apartment block entrances, beaches and children’s playgrounds.
After 1 year, on 1st June 2014, the ban will extend to long-distance trains, ships, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, markets and railway platforms. Also smoking rooms in work places will be banned.
New Advertising Laws in Russia
As well as the ban on smoking in public places there will be tighter controls on advertising and marketing of cigarettes and other tobacco products. The new law prohibits the display of cigarettes in shops and sales in kiosks will be banned from June 2014.
Tobacco companies will also be banned from advertising tobacco products at public events and competitions.
There will also be a new minimum retail price for cigarettes, with the expectation smoking will become much more expensive for the average Russian, and the increased revenues diverted into public health spending. Currently a packet of cigarettes costs around 40 rubles (80 pence) per packet.
It is thought that a WHO report from 2011 may have prompted Russia to start making some changes.
References and Further Reading
Putin signs law to curb smoking in Russia – Euronews, 25/02/13
Putin Signs Russian Anti-Smoking Bill Into Law – RiaNovosti, 25/02/13
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