WHO Calls for Harsher Tobacco Laws

WHO Calls for Harsher Tobacco Laws

Published: February 6, 2013 (Issue # 1745)

The World Health Organization, which has supported Russia’s plans to take tough measures to limit smoking, is calling for the age limit for cigarette sales to be raised in Russia, Interfax reported.

“In many countries you can buy cigarettes from the age of 18. However, many counties have raised the age limit to 20 to 21 years old,” said Haik Nikogosyan, Head of the Secretariat of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

“Raising the age limit in Russia could be an effective measure. That would be the right step,” he said.

Nikogosyan said the WHO supported Russia’s plans to limit smoking in public places. The law on the matter is to be considered by the State Duma in a third reading later this year.

“In Russia the death rate from tobacco is very high. You’re losing your population. For you it’s a demographic issue, an issue of national security. It’s more than a health service. Tough state intervention in that area will be justified,” he said.

Nikogosyan suggested that Moscow could become a tobacco-free city.

“You could make all of Moscow tobacco-free. New York City, [which is] also a big city, has become free of smoking. You can’t smoke anywhere in New York, not in hotels, nor in restaurants. There’s hardly anywhere you can smoke there,” he said.

Nikogosyan said the WHO was worried by the increase of cigarette production in Russia.

“You should get rid of those tobacco factories, not only in Moscow but in Russia in general. Russia risks becoming a paradise for tobacco production. In the last 25 to 30 years the production of cigarettes in Russia has doubled,” Nikogosyan said.

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