Longer working hours for tobacco-addicted civil servants in Russia’s south

Longer working hours for tobacco-addicted civil servants in Russia’s south
Government employees who fancy a cigarette or two while on duty will have to stay longer hours in the office, a local senior official in southern Russia announced. Working smokers will also be signed up for mandatory out of office activities more often.

Restrictions on tobacco smokers, working in regional administration in the Kuban area in southern Russia, have been introduced by the region's head Viktor Kadykalo, who announced the new rules on his Twitter.

"The labor order establishes four 5-minute breaks, so total working hours will be prolonged for these 20 minutes," the official said.

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Another reason for smoking employees to fume will be extra mandatory services, such as litter pick activities and public order maintenance duties.

The anti-tobacco activist in the office said he cared for health of his people and expressed hopes the new measures would make them quit - bad habits, not the job.

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The strictest part of Russia’s anti-tobacco law came into force this summer, making it illegal to smoke cigarettes in most of public places, including eating establishments across Russia, hotels, marketplaces, as well as long distance trains, train stations, and ships.

RIA Novosti/Kirill Kallinikov

When meeting with the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan in October, Russia's President Vladimir Putin said the country's battle with tobacco will continue, with more anti-smoking measures to be introduced, but "carefully."

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Saying the state did not aim to violate people's right to choose, Putin said that Russia planned to continue its cooperation with the WHO on smoking.

The WHO Director-General was pleased with Russia's efforts: while in 2010 some 40 percent of the country's adult population were smoking - according to various surveys, the number of cigarette-lovers has dropped in recent years.