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Russia bans smoking in public places
February 13, 2013, 9:23 am

Two women smoke at a downtown street in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok. [AP]

The ban will start on June 1, 2013. [AP]

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved a bill banning smoking in public places in its third and final reading.

The Duma passed the anti-smoking bill in a second reading on January 25.

It envisages a gradual ban on smoking in public, including in government buildings, healthcare and educational facilities, cultural sites, stadiums and public transport.

The ban, which takes effect on June 1, was passed by a 441 to one vote.

Additional restrictions proposed on January 11, in particular banning the so-called smoking lounges at workplaces, were not included in the bill’s final version.

The Russian tobacco market, worth $19.5 billion is the world’s second largest after China.

Roughly 60 per cent of Russian men smoke, as do 22 per cent of women and a quarter of boys between the ages of 13 and 15.

The legislation also imposes a complete ban on tobacco advertising.

Tobacco companies will now be barred from holding promotional prize draws and sponsoring public events and competitions – the bill also prohibits displaying tobacco products in shops.

In promoting the law, Dimitry Medvedev, the Russian Prime Minister said smoking kills about 400,000 Russians every year and endangers the health of the young by setting a bad example and exposing them to secondhand smoke.

Some of the bill’s provisions, including a total ban on smoking in trains and hotels, will come into effect one year later.

Russia signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control with the World Health Organization in 2008 obliging them into enforcing tougher restrictions on tobacco by 2015.

With inputs from Agencies