MOSCOW, January 25 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved a ban on smoking in public places in a crucial second reading on Friday.
The Duma passed the anti-smoking bill in a first reading last month. It envisages a gradual ban on smoking in public, including government buildings, healthcare and educational facilities and cultural sites to sports stadiums and public transport.
Further restrictions to the anti-smoking bill proposed on January 11, in particular banning so-called smoking rooms at work places, were not included in the final version.
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 cigarette sales in counters, and the display of tobacco products in shops.
The law is due to come into force on June 1, 2013, though some of its provisions, including a total ban on smoking in trains and hotels, will come into effect one year later.
Russia signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control with the World Health Organization in 2008. This obliges Russia to enact tougher restrictions on tobacco by 2015.
According to a survey conducted by the Levada Center in November, only 18 to 31 percent of respondents supported an outright smoking ban in workplaces, airports, restaurants, bars and hotels, while up to 75 percent believe public smoking should be restricted to specially designated areas.
Around forty percent of Russian adults smoke.