TOBACCO CONTROL IN RUSSIA
Tobacco Control in Russia
More than a year has already passed since the signing of the anti-tobacco law which ensured that Russian legislation complied with the requirements set in the WHO Framework Convention for Tobacco Control ratified by the Russian Federation in 2008 and which regulates matters dealing with protection of citizens’ health from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption. The anti-tobacco law became the most resonant law of 2013 in Russia and holds a high priority for the government of the Russian Federation.
“We need not only prohibitive economic measures, but also enlightenment, sport and healthy lifestyle promotion. It is a hard work that entails a lot of efforts, time, inventiveness and foundation. But only such kind of work will produce positive and long-term effect.”
Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia
In accordance with Federal Law no. 15-FZ dated February 23, 2013 Federal “On the Protection of Citizens’ Health from the Impact of Tobacco Smoke and the Consequences of Tobacco Consumption” that came into force on June 1, 2013, smoking was completely prohibited in the following locations:
- on municipal and commuter transport, at transport facilities and near entrances to railway stations and airport buildings;
- on the territory and within buildings which are part of the healthcare, education, culture, physical education and sport systems;
- within social service facilities and buildings belonging to the public and local authorities;
- within the workplace and within work areas located in buildings, within non-fixed retail facilities;
- on playgrounds and beaches;
- on airplanes.
The law also prohibited promoting tobacco products and sponsorships by tobacco companies, the sale of naswar, the sale of tobacco products within educational, cultural, sporting, medical and resort facilities as well as within buildings occupied by the public and local authorities. Additionally, in accordance with a resolution passed by the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, beginning in June of 2013, frightening images that depict the real consequences of smoking began to be printed on packs of cigarettes, which reduced the appeal of smoking to minors.
Since November 15, 2013, Russia has completely banned the advertising of cigarettes while also instituting fines for smoking in prohibited places, for advertising tobacco products and for other violations of the anti-tobacco legislation.
Since June 1, 2014, smoking has been completely banned on long distance trains, in cafés, restaurants, bars and hotels. The law also prohibited openly displaying tobacco products in stores while instituting a range of other measures.
“This is not a fight against people who smoke, it is an attempt to make our children healthier while ensuring that smoking regulations are civilised.”
Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation
Along with its prohibitive measures, the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation is also organising comprehensive medical assistance and psychological support for those who want to quit smoking. These measures include opening 3,700 departments and offices for preventative medicine in various hospitals and clinics, establishing over 700 healthcare centres, opening offices providing medical assistance for those who want to quit smoking all over the country while also organising drug abuse clinics and neuropsychiatric dispensaries. A consulting call centre and an interactive portal are functioning to provide assistance to those who want to quit smoking where anyone can find other like-minded people and learn about the basics of a healthy lifestyle. A national standard medical examination is also being offered free of charge to the public.
The series of anti-tobacco measures undertaken by the government have facilitated the decrease in the number of Russian citizens who smoke. The amount of people smoking has already decreased by 16%-17% (according to the Russian Federal State Statistics Service, 33.7% of the adult population smoked in 2008 and this decreased to 28.3% in 2013, according to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center the number of smoking people in Russia decreased from 41% in 2009 to 34% in 2013). Furthermore, there has been a notable decrease in deaths caused by cardiovascular illnesses by 15.7% in January and by 7.6% in February of 2014 as compared with the same months in the previous year.
“Counteracting the tobacco consumption is a universal problem that necessitates the consolidation of specialist efforts from countries all over the world.”
Dmitry Kostennikov, State Secretary / Deputy Minister of healthcare of the Russian Federation