MOSCOW, June 1 (RIA Novosti) – An anti-smoking law that bans smoking in public, including in government buildings, healthcare and educational facilities, cultural sites, sports stadiums and on public transport, comes into force in Russia on Saturday.
New Russian Anti-Tobacco Bill
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the ban into the law on February 25. The law comes into force on June 1, 2013, though some of its provisions, including a total ban on smoking in restaurants, trains and hotels, will only come into effect one year later.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in April that the new legislation banning smoking in public places could save up to 200,000 lives annually in Russia, which has some of the highest rates of smoking in the world.
The legislation also imposes a total ban on tobacco advertising. Tobacco companies will be barred from holding promotional prize draws and sponsoring public events and competitions.
The bill also prohibits display of tobacco products in shops. Sales in retail kiosks will be banned from June 2014, and minimum prices will be set for cigarettes, which currently cost from just 40 rubles ($1.30) a pack.
Last month, the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, began debating a bill imposing fines of up to 1,500 rubles (about $48) for smoking in public places.