Lawmakers in Russia are aiming to keep people who were born in 2015 or later from becoming addicted to cigarettes. If they end up being able to pass the legislation they’re working on, it would make Russia the first country to impose such strict regulations on smoking.
Russia wants to ban cigarettes to future generations
According to RadioFreeEurope, The Russian Health Ministry proposed a ban on sales of cigarettes to everyone born after 2014, even when they turn 18, the current legal age for smoking. Based on this, the ban would go into effect in 2033. The proposed legislation also includes a number of other new restrictions on public smoking. One is banning the habit in cars when children are riding them. Another is letting employers force employees to make up the time they take for cigarette breaks, and a third is putting warnings about the health risks on individual cigarettes.
The Russian Health Ministry pegs the number of deaths from smoking-related illnesses in the country at between 300,000 and 400,000 per year.
One concern of some is whether cigarettes with fake tobacco in them would become commonplace on the black market and whether these fake products would be worse for Russians’ health than real cigarettes are. The Kremlin said lawmakers from several ministries will consider the proposal carefully before it will be passed.
Could the proposal pass?
According to The Independent, the health ministry in Russia has been gradually tightening regulations on public smoking since the first restrictions were introduced in 2013 after years of tolerance for the habit. If the proposal to ban smoking to everyone born after 2015 passes, even the bill’s proponents question whether it will be possible to keep a whole generation of people from smoking. The Kremlin has yet to weigh in on the proposed legislation.
Russia’s toughening stance against cigarettes appears to be having an effect, as the Tass news agency reports that the number of smokers in the country declined 10% last year. Now only 31% of Russians smoke, bringing the number of people practicing the habit to its lowest level in many years.