Russian Proposal Would Phase In Cigarette Ban, but Current Smokers Get a Pass.
Tobacco kills about six million people globally each year, according to the World Health Organization, and 300,000 to 400,000 of them are Russians.
About 33% of Russian adults use tobacco products.
President Vladimir V. Putin, a nonsmoker, has stepped up efforts to curb smoking. In 2013, he signed a law that banned smoking in most public places, raised taxes on tobacco products and banned their sale at street kiosks.
The measures have had an impact. The number of children aged 13 to 15 who smoke declined to 9.3% in 2015 from 25.4% in 2004, according to the ministry.
Additionally, employees who smoked had to work longer hours to compensate for smoking breaks, and taxes were increased on both tobacco and e-cigarettes, independent.co.uk reported.
Marina Gambaryan, a senior researcher at the state-run National Research Center for Preventive Medicine, told the TASS news agency that by 2033 the ban on tobacco sales “will not be seen as an emergency measure, but as a logical step.”
Other countries have had mixed success in persuading their citizens to kick the habit.
Ireland in 2004 became the first country to confront the effects of secondhand smoke and ban smoking in workplaces. Tobacco manufacturers and some political leaders thought it would be unenforceable. Within a month there was near total compliance, and the law gained wide acceptance. Ireland’s ban prompted dozens of other countries to adopt similar laws.
Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan kingdom that evaluates its public policies not by the potential economic benefits but by how much they add to the country’s “gross national happiness,” tried to become the world’s first smoke-free nation by banning the sale of tobacco in 2005.
Under the country’s Tobacco Control Act of 2010, Bhutanese adults are allowed to bring 200 cigarettes a month into the country. Smokers who violate the customs law or retailers caught selling tobacco can face up to five years in prison.
Since 2011, Australia has been trying to scare people away from smoking by covering cigarette packages with nightmarish images of the health hazards. Several other countries, including France, New Zealand and South Africa, plan to adopt similar packaging laws.
Japan, long a smokers’ stronghold, has been moving slowly to adopt smoking curbs. Since 2002, Tokyo has taken the lead in creating designated outdoor smoking areas, but the WHO rates Japan’s antismoking efforts among the weakest in the world.
Last August, the Japanese health ministry proposed a ban on smoking in public buildings as Japan gets ready to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020. On Thursday, restaurant industry groups voiced their opposition to the move.