OCTOBER 13—18, 2014
Moscow, Russia

Press-conference of the Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation Veronika Skvortsova

The Minister of healthcare of the Russian Federation: “Russia’s anti-tobacco law is just the first step, follow-up measures to be discussed”

October 13, MOSCOW. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) opened today in Moscow’s World Trade Center.

Russian Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova told reporters that Russia’s FCTC implementation was viewed as exemplary by many countries. Last year, Russia adopted an anti-tobacco law covering all the FCTC fundamental provisions.

“The first results of the steps taken to reduce tobacco consumption are already clear: it dropped by 16-17%. Eight of every ten Russian citizens support strict tobacco control measures. Enforcement figures confirm that 96% of public catering facilities fully adhere to the tobacco ban”, Skvortsova said. She added that Russia fully banned tobacco products advertising; and a warning message must be shown on TV before any program displaying tobacco products or their use.

“Every citizen of Russia is entitled to a free medical examination or medical assistance to give up smoking,” she said, “Our free ‘hot line’ has received over a million calls over several years. We see last year’s events, after the Federal law was adopted, as a very positive experience, and this is only the beginning. The Russian Government is going to join the Protocol to Eliminate the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products; the Russian Ministry of Health has already developed and sent the corresponding draft law to federal executive authorities for approval.”

The Minister pointed out the law’s comprehensive nature: all the principal tobacco control measures outlined by the Convention have fully translated into law, including excise tax policies.

“In 2010 we adopted a national anti-tobacco concept which included increasing tobacco excise taxes, and for several years in a row the excise tax outgrew the inflation rate. The price for cigarettes also goes up by 8-10% every year. We intend to continue this trend and take further steps; other countries’ experience has also proved that this mechanism is one of the most effective”, the Minister said.

“In medical assistance, the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation has adopted relief protocols for people quitting smoking and struggling with tobacco addiction. Moreover, there are methods to provide comprehensive medical assistance when minimum medication support is not enough. Here we use combined therapy,” she said.

The Minister emphasized there is inclusive debate on additional measures: “There will be a group decision on this matter; all the principal bans and measures are set out in law, the regulatory acts to follow will expand the area of their application.”

Veronika Skvortsova also thanked Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, Dr. Chang-jin Moon, the President of the Bureau, and the rest of the Organizing Committee for their effort to prepare the conference. “We are very proud and honoured that the Russian Federation has been trusted to host the Conference of the Parties, which is of great importance for the FCTC world”, the Minister said.