Smoke-free shield to cover Russia’s bars and restaurants

The Health Ministry has published the toughest ever anti-smoking bill with a view to imposing a total tobacco ban in all public places, even bars and restaurants.

According to the bill, it will be prohibited to sell any cigarettes in stalls and kiosks of less than 50 square meters. Even shops will not be able to display cigarettes openly; tto buy a pack, a purchaser will have to choose from a special price list.

Smoking areas will be severely limited. The new law will forbid smoking in long-distance trains, in airports and their exits, in hotels, nightclubs and restaurants. Even to smoke in your own block’s corridors will require permission from all the neighbours.

The Health Ministry is planning to at least treble tobacco excise taxes by up to 60 rubles ($2). The cost of a pack of cigarettes will reach 100 rubles ($3.30).

In this way the ministry hopes to extend the budget’s tobacco gains by four times. While the implementation of the law will cost the country about 615 million rubles ($20), the state budget will gain around 466 billion rubles by 2014.

Tobacco ads will disappear completely and manufacturers will be prohibited from sponsoring any events. Smoking will be forbidden even in movies and TV shows shot after the law is adopted.

The document will go through its first reading in the State Duma in October 2014.

The new anti-tobacco legislation is the toughest ever in Russia. Previous ones have included such measures as frightening warnings on each pack of cigarettes and a ban on smoking in public buildings. The prime minister, Vladimir Putin, has urged government officials to quit smoking “to set a good example.”

Back in April 2008, Russia joined WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that ordered the country to impose a total ban on tobacco ads as well as to take other measures to cut down the number of smokers.

Duma deputies already came up with such legislation, but the officials thought it was too radical for the country at that time.

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