26 Jan 2013

Anti-smoking bill proceeding in Russia

8:54 am on 26 January 2013

Parliament in Russia has passed a law which would ban smoking in bars, cafes and other public spaces.

Supported by President Vladimir Putin, the bill was voted through in a second reading on Friday in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

The law would also ban tobacco advertising entirely and restrict sales from kiosks.

Deputies applauded as the bill was passed with 442 votes in favour, one against and one abstention.

In a personal video blog. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said 44 million Russians are hooked on smoking, and almost 400,000 die every year of smoking-related causes.

If passed, the restrictions are expected to be fully in force by 2016.

The Finance Ministry has also previously announced plans to increase excise duty on tobacco by around 40% for 2013 and 2014, and by 10% per year after 2015.

The Russian cigarette market was estimated to be worth around $22 billion in 2011 by Euromonitor International. Cigarettes currently cost 50-60 roubles per packet (around $US2).