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MOSCOW, December 10 (Itar-Tass) —— The implementation of the anti-tobacco law drafted by the Health Ministry will help reduce tobacco consumption in Russia by at least 15 percent, Darya Khalturina, co-chair of the Russian Anti-Tobacco Coalition, said on Monday, December 10.
“This draft law can help reduce the spread of smoking at least by 15 percent,” she said.
In her opinion, the submission of alternative draft laws to the Duma can delay the adoption of the Health Ministry’s draft law. The Duma plans to debate the law in the first reading on December 14.
Current legislation motivates, rather than prohibits, smoking, Deputy Director of the Institute of Pulmonology Galina Sakharova said.
“It is easier to be a smoking rather than non-smoking person in our country,” she said. “We impose smoking bahaviour upon people.”
She stressed that there is a direct connection between smoking and lung cancer. “In the middle of the 1990s there was a considerable increase in the number of smoking women. Now the number of lung cancer cases among women increases every year by 1 percent,” Sakharova said.
In addition, the number of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cases among smoking men and women keeps growing as well. “Once such diagnosis is verified, people live only 6-10 years after that,” she added.
United Russia party members will try to debate government’s “anti-tobacco” draft law in the first reading this year, Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak said.
He recommended that MP Alexei Mitrofanov withdraw his similar legislative initiative the consideration of which as an alternative can slow down the passage of the government’s document.
“The government’s draft law offering a set of measures to fight smoking is a major stage in implementing a consistent public policy of preventing addictions that destroy people’s health,” Zheleznyak said on Wednesday, November 28. “Considering the social importance of this topic and a large number of our citizens who have taken to smoking, the adoption of the law has to be accompanied by a broad public discussion in order to reach the most reasonable and effective decisions,” he said and warned against “artificial procedural procrastination in the passage of this most important draft law”.
“Alexei Mitrofanov's alternative legislative initiative contains a number of reasonable and constructive proposals,” the Deputy Duma Speaker said. “However, in order to avoid procedural delays in the consideration of the governmental draft law, I suggest that Alexei Mitrofanov’s initiative be considered not as an alternative but as amendments to the main draft law bill in a second reading,” he said.
“I advised Alexei to withdraw the draft law and I am ready to help register his proposals as amendments during the debates on the draft law bill submitted by the government,” Zheleznyak said. “This will allow us to solve the question of adopting the law without delays and loss of substantive proposals,” he added.
When asked by ITAR-TASS whether his comments mean that the State Duma can debate the “antis-tobacco” draft law in the first reading before the end of this year, Zhelezyak said, “We will try to do that.”
First Deputy Speaker Alexander Zhukov said earlier that the draft law would be debated on December 14. However some mass media reported on Wednesday, November 28, that this might be postponed till January.
The head of the State Duma Committee on Health, Sergei Kalashnikov of the Liberal Democratic Party leader, blamed the delay on the “tobacco lobby”.
First Deputy Chairman of the Duma Health Committee Nikolai Gerasimenko said earlier that “the first reading will be in December”.
Gerasimenko noted that the document calls for a substantial increase in tobacco excises. He criticised the government’s proposals concerning a stage-by-stage increase in excises which, in his opinion, would not be enough.
“The government has already proposed raising excises by 45 percent in 2013, by 45 percent in 2014 and by 20 percent in 2015,” the MP said. “This will nearly double excises by 2015,” he added.
Currently, tobacco excises are 7.8 roubles per pack and it will grow to 16 roubles by 2015, compared to about 100 roubles in Eastern Europe.