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18 Oct, 2012 20:09

Up in smoke: Russian government approves harsh anti-tobacco ban for 2015

Russian smokers have two years to quit as the country`s government approves a harsh anti-smoking law for 2015. If passed the legislation would prohibit smoking in any public place including restaurants and cafes.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has been persistent in pushing for this legislation. “This is a big problem and we are too careless about it,” he noted addressing the ministers after the discussion. “We have to move towards civilization, like the rest of the world. And this will bring in an effect that will be measured in human lives,” he said.Every third person in Russia is a smoker, making up some 44 million smokers according to the statistics brought up by the PM. The health benefits from just 10 per cent of smokers quitting, would bring an additional $3,5 billion in the country`s budget in 2013, said Russia`s Minister of Health, Veronika Skvortsova. The legislation is not a governmental war on smokers, but on smoking itself, Medvedev said in his videoblog recently. But whether Medvedev wants it or not the legislation will affect tobacco addicts immensely. The law stipulates a smoking ban in state offices, educational, medical, sports and cultural facilities, public transportation, playgrounds, along with public areas in residential buildings. Additionally, starting July 2014 no smoking will be allowed on long distance trains, planes, in hotels, markets and stores.Then finally the ban will be enacted in restaurants and cafes in 2015. The legislation will also prohibit advertising of tobacco products.Now that the draft has been approved by the government it is to be approved by the Russian State Duma and then by the Federation Council.