MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian government approved the anti-tobacco bill, which the Ministry of Health and Social Development had drafted, and will submit it in the State Duma soon. Already starting from January 1, 2015 Russia will introduce a full ban on smoking at the public places. Meanwhile, the number of the places for the sale of tobacco products will be cut and their advertising will be restricted.
The ministry reported that about 44 million people are smoking in Russia that makes a third of Russian population, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. For the size of the tobacco market Russia is ranked second after China, which has a much larger population.
The Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily noted that the life of Russian smokers will be complicated substantially within next few years. Still, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is convinced that two thirds of smokers support the struggle against smoking. Therefore, this will not become an unpleasant surprise for them that starting from 2015 restaurants, cafes and other trading centres will ban smoking gradually. This concerns the children’s playgrounds, schools, universities, the buildings housing the state authorities, where the smokers will have to refrain from smoking even earlier than in 2015.
Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova supported the prime minister in the course that he took with economic calculations, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reported. According to her estimates, if the tobacco consumption is reduced by ten percent, Russia will be able to spare 110 billion roubles in the expenses for treatment, the loss of workableness from the diseases related with smoking already in 2013, 140 billion roubles in 2015 and already 250 billion roubles in 2020. The anti-tobacco law should have a long-term effect. The authors of the bill noted that the document will be taken primarily for the interests of the whole younger generation. However, independent experts doubt that these goals can be attained. Head of the North-Western branch of the interregional public council for the problem of adolescent smoking Anna Sorochinskaya finds it expedient to introduce criminal responsibility for the sale of cigarettes to the teenagers instead of the measures for the struggle against smoking outlined in the anti-tobacco bill.
At the end of the meeting Dmitry Medvedev could not resist to criticize in a joke several members of the Cabinet that cannot give up smoking, the Novye Izvestia daily reported. The premier noted that on one side of the table mainly smoking ministers are sitting, and on the opposite side of the table those who do not smoke are sitting. Indignant exclamations were voiced from the ‘smoking’ side of the table. “I do not say that everybody is smoking here,” Medvedev remarked. “But our statistics is more positive. Each fifth minister is smoking from 25 members in the government. This is each third person smoking in the country,” he underlined.
Now “it will be supervised” for no one not to smoke not only in the lobbies of the Russian White House, but also in the offices, Medvedev stated. He did not explain, but probably he meant video monitoring, the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily reported.