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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Complete smoking ban faces young Russians born this decade

Russian smoking

Russia's health ministry is considering a permanent ban on selling cigarettes to people born in 2014 or later.
It's part of a tough anti-tobacco strategy the country's politicians are trying to make a reality.
The ban on the sale of tobacco to this generation and younger would continue even after they reach adulthood.
It's only being considered at the moment but it could mean smoking eventually becomes illegal for all Russians.
Russian news site Izvestia says it has seen a policy document titled "concept for the state policy to counter tobacco consumption in the years 2017-2022 and beyond".
It says the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation confirmed the document is being widely shared across government.
"This goal is absolutely ideologically correct," Nikolai Gerasimenko, a member of the country's health committee said.
Anti-smoking campaigners have called for similar measures in other parts of the world in the past, but have never received government backing.

President Vladimir Putin
 President Putin - famously a fitness fanatic - is a non-smoker and has in the past reprimanded ministers for smoking

Smoking is already against the law in Russian workplaces, housing block stairwells, buses and commuter trains and within 15m of train stations and airports.
Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world with around 40% of its population smokers.
In some shops, packets of cigarettes can be bought for less than $1. The Russian cigarette market is estimated to be worth more than $22bn.
There are a few considerations here. First of all should any leader have that much control over the personal habits of citizens ... regardless of his views on health.
Secondly, I have to wonder why Russians smoke so much. It is considered by many as a nervous habit like biting your nails. People smoke much more under stress than in normal conditions, like in times of war. Depressed people smoke more too.
Perhaps the Russian people need this vice to relieve their anxiety about their living conditions, their all powerful ( quasi Communist )  government and loss of personal freedoms.
Russians also drink a lot: anti-freeze, window cleaner, mouth wash, virtually anything with an ounce of alcohol in it. Seems alcohol has strict controls too.
Although, theoretically, this law is better for the Russian people, it is another dictatorial act of Putin based purely on his own life-style. It does, however, offer wonderful opportunities for a tobacco black market to spring up under Russian crime syndicates.
 Do you think a complete ban on smoking should become the law in any country ( whether you are a smoker or not)??  It does represent the freedom to choose your own lifestyle.

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