Russia Quits Smoking!

The tendency of ban smoking from public places seem to spread from the Western world to East. The borderline of these kind of regulations lies in post-communist countries: in Poland it’s already banished, in Hungary this law takes effect in July 2011 and even in Russia there are recent attempts towards.

On Wednesday the healthcare committee of the Moscow government was meeting in Moscow to talk about the opportunity to reduce the list of places where smokers would be allowed to smoke. The list includes places like: state institutions, stadiums, hospitals, schools, theaters and other cultural institutions.

Although the new measure hasn’t got a big chance to pass because the lobby of tobacco industry of Russia is very forceful.

The members of the committee have some proposals about prohibition in stairways and selling tobacco products in all buildings that are the prerty of the local government of Moscow.

Future goals are to reduce passive smoking by 10-15 percent, active somiking by 50 percent until 2014. Weapons of reaching this impressive numbers are narrowing the list of tobacco selling places and a massive anti-tobacco campaign.

Their enthusiasm is understandable: statistics say that 500 000 Russian dies of the effects of smoking every year. Prevention is an other serious issue: the numbers of smoking youth are terrible: forty-three percent of permanent smokers among youth are below 13 years of age. Twenty-one percent of Russian boys started smoking before they turned nine.

On the following picture of a Polish website this East-heading banning tendency shows clearly: Light blue indicates the prohibiting states, countries marked with deep blue are planning to introduce these kind of regulations. Only Schwitzerland and Bulgaria are the exceptions: the first could manage the problem without total prohibitive laws, on the other hand Bulgaria yielded early before this trend.

These laws are not equally strict in different countries: for example while in Iceland or Spain the law covers all public places, in Italy the same excluding some special smoking rooms. In Schwitzerland the strengh of the prohibition depends on each city’s local government, for example in Luzerne we are allowed to smoke in reastaurants.The positive sides of these laws aren’t debate stuff: every statistics show better national health conditions after banning public indoor smoking.

The negative effects are the good substrate for propaganda for both sides: tobacco industry-related statistics shows a decrease of the tax income of states and the lowering profit of the catering trade. Anti-smoke activists claim the opposite. Even official national financial statistics are not very reliable because for example they don’t reveal clearly that besides the missing tax income how much money is spared on healthcare expenses because of the less smoking-related deseases.

List of countries with a total smoking ban in catering and entertainment without being able to create a smoking room :
Ireland – March 2004
Scotland – March 2006
Wales – March 2006
Northern Ireland – April 2007
England – July 2007
Turkey – January 2008
Greece – 2010
Norway – June 2004
Bulgaria – January 2005
Italy – January 2005
Sweden – June 2005
Malta – 2005
Spain – January 2006
Luxembourg – August 2006
Belgium – January 2007
Lithuania in January 2007
France – February 2007
Albania – May 2007
Estonia – June 2007
Finland – June 2007
Iceland – June 2007
Denmark – August 2007
Germany – August 2007
Slovenia – August 2007
Bosnia and Herzegovina – September 2007
Portugal – January 2008

List of countries with a total smoking ban in catering and entertainment with the possibility to create smoking rooms
Netherlands – July 2008
Croatia – November 2008
Austria – January 2009
Romania – January 2009
Macedonia – January 2010
Switzerland – May 2010
Poland – November 2010

List of countries where smoking is allowed in the premises
Czech Republic


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