Vladimir Putin Bans Smoking in Public Spaces in Russia

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

As the Russian government moves to improve public health, President Vladmir Putin recently signed into a law a ban on smoking in public places that will go into effect this June. The law also bans the advertising of tobacco products and the sponsorship of events by tobacco firms.

A 2011 poll found that 40 percent of adult Russians smoke cigarettes. Authorities believe that their lack of action on tobacco use has made it a serious public health concern.

The first stage of the law will be enacted on June 1, making it illegal to smoke in municipal transports, railway and bus stations, lifts, cultural sites, stadiums, administrative buildings, and any education or healthcare facilities. The second stage in June 2014, will ban smoking in restaurants, hotels, cafes, ships, long-distance trains, and train platforms. The law also bans the display of tobacco-products in shops as well as their sale at retail kiosks.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in a video advocating the law last year, said that 400,000 Russians die each year from smoking-related conditions. Putin and Medvedev are non-smokers, however several ministers on the PM’s cabinet are avid smokers.

The law brings Russia into line with the World Health Organization’s tobacco treaty, which the country ratified in 2008. The final version of the bill passed by the Duma and upper chamber in February did not include the banning of “smoking rooms” at workplaces.

Source: The Telegraph