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New Law Could Hit Russian Smokers With Massive Cigarette Price Hike

Published: May 30, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • Some 40 percent of Russians are habitual smokers, resulting in up to 400,000 deaths from tobacco-related diseases annually.
    Photo: For SPT

As Russians brace themselves for a public smoking ban to come into effect on Sunday, lawmakers have submitted a new draft law hiking the minimum price on cigarettes in the latest bid to change the country's attitude to smoking.

The new law would see a 41-percent increase in the minimum price for cigarettes by April 1, 2015, from 39 rubles ($1.13) to 55 rubles ($1.60) a pack, as part of a massive government campaign to reduce the number of smokers in the country.

Viktor Zvagelsky, deputy chairman of the State Duma's committee on economic policy, said the draft law would officially be submitted to lawmakers after recommendations and comments on it were received from the government.

The measure expands on a series of anti-smoking measures, the first part of which came into effect last June, including a ban on smoking in universities, sports facilities, stairwells of apartment buildings, bus stops, train stations and airports.

On June 1, the list will be expanded to include restaurants and cafes, imposing a fine of up to 1,500 rubles ($45) for smokers found in violation of the ban.

Gennady Onishchenko, the former head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service and a driving force behind the anti-smoking law, on Wednesday praised the smoking ban, saying he believed it would save millions of lives.

"Many [smokers] will quit. Enough already of this apathetic attitude to one's own health and the health of loved ones. In a month, of course, the law won't save hundreds of thousands of lives. But if all measures are taken, it will allow for millions of lives to ultimately be saved. Unfortunately, we have a lot of smokers," Onishchenko told news agency Interfax.

Some 40 percent of Russians are habitual smokers, resulting in up to 400,000 deaths from tobacco-related diseases annually, according to the World Health Organization's Global Adult Tobacco Survey.

The government's anti-smoking campaign may have already made an impact, however. ITAR-TASS on Wednesday cited a Health Ministry official as saying the number of smokers in the country had fallen over the past year.

Marina Shevyreva, director of the department of protecting health at the Health Ministry, said she believed the campaign was to thank for the reduced number of smokers. Within three years, she said, the number of patients hospitalized for smoking-related illnesses would likely fall substantially.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, July 23


SPIBA’s Legislation & Lobbying Committee invites everyone interested in the practical aspects of courts and procedural law to today’s Legal Debating Club at 9:30 a.m. at the Mertens House, 21 Nevsky Prospekt, office 506. Visit spiba.ru for more details.


Take advantage of the sunny summer days and participate in Beach Games 2014, which runs through July 27 in Sestroretsk’s Dubki Park.



Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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