The Russian Federation is planning to enforce a new restriction on its citizens. They proposed a bill that bans people born after 2015 from buying cigarettes. At a first glimpse, it looks like a good decision to take and it is most surely meant to calm young parents but, looking at it in the long run, it might be one of the strictest cigarette bans in the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) made public some data regarding smoking rates in the world. Among the 14 countries surveyed by the WHO, Russia has the highest rate of adult smokers. Almost 40 percent of the population (that means around 44 million adults) are smokers.
The ban Russia is planning to enforce might prove to be the second strictest in the world when it comes to smoking bans. Bhutan is the only country that banned cigarette sales completely.
According to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, the ban is about to go into effect in 2033, when citizens born in 2015 turn eighteen years old. Smoking is legal in Russia after eighteen and the authorities’ goal is that, by the time the affected citizens come of age, they will not be legally able to purchase cigarettes. The ban is part of an extensive action to combat smoking.
Other activities in the sense are to be attempted between 2017 and 2022. The target is to lower the smoking rates in Russia down to 25 percent by 2025 and lower it even more from further on. They also claimed that smoking rates decreased during the last years, dropping from 39 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2016.
Russian politicians made several statements regarding the ban. Elena Topoleva-Soldunova, member of the Russian public chamber, is worried that the complete ban on smoking sales will lead to massive counterfeit tobacco. On the other side is politician Nikolai Gerasimenko who approved of the ban is, however, not sure how it will be possible for it to be enforced.
Until the time comes for the massive ban, the authorities are also planning to restrict the spaces where people are allowed to smoke. Cigarette packs now display graphic images, too. However, a WHO 2012 survey found that almost 12 percent of Russian teens aged fifteen smoke daily. It is a challenge to enforce such a strong ban when smoking is still accessible to everyone.
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