Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that has created Russia’s first public smoking ban. People will no longer be allowed to smoke in restaurants, trains, or entrance ways into public housing. Additionally, beaches, children’s playgrounds, and other public places are now off-limits to smokers.
The measure had been a significant part of the government’s plan for bettering overall public health. Its effects include rolling prohibitions on where people can smoke, as well as new limits on marketing and selling tobacco products. All but one member of the State Duma voted in favor of the bill.
Lung cancers are the fourth-biggest cause of death in Russia, and more than 40 percent of Russians smoke cigarettes. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study of smoking in Russia in 2011, and the results pointed out many of the deficiencies which this bill solves. For example, “the retail price of a pack of 20 of the cheapest brand of cigarettes in 2010 was 11 roubles.” This is the equivalent of 36 US cents, or roughly one third of the cost of a bottle of water in Moscow.
Russia’s new smoking laws increase the minimum price allowed to be charged for a pack of cigarettes, hoping to reduce the amount people spend on tobacco while increasing the tax revenue for each pack sold.
– Jake Simon