Anti-smoking laws take effect in Russia - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Anti-smoking laws take effect in Russia

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Restaurants and some other businesses oppose the new anti-smoking laws in Russia. (Source: CBS) Restaurants and some other businesses oppose the new anti-smoking laws in Russia. (Source: CBS)

MOSCOW (CBS) - Russia's ban on smoking in restaurants and cafes takes effect on Saturday, despite resistance from smokers' rights groups and business owners.

In Moscow, where smoking while dining is something of a tradition, restaurant owners fear the new law will cause significant financial loss.

"Yes, this law is needed. Yes, we need to reduce smoking. Yes, we need to fight for people's health. But what do we do with those people who can't fight it themselves? We need to think of something separate for them," said Vadim Rokhlin, a restaurant owner.

Statistics show Russia is the second largest tobacco market in the world after China.

Russia counts about 39 million smokers among its population of 143 million people, and Russians smoked an estimated 340 billion cigarettes in 2012.

Recently, though, the government began to implement policies aimed at reducing those numbers.

In 2013, smoking was banned and tobacco advertising restricted in public places such as schools, hospitals and public transport.

However, the latest ban has encountered strong resistance. A recent petition against it fetched more than 100,000 signatures.

"We understand that this law isn't against tobacco. You can see essentially these measures aren't against tobacco manufacturers. It's a law against smokers. Against good people, taxpayers who earned their money, paid their taxes, went shopping, want to smoke and are told no, absolutely no," said Andrey Loskutov of the Russian movement for smokers' rights.

In Russia, the price of the cheapest cigarettes, around just one U.S. dollar, is much lower than the price of equivalent cigarettes in European Union countries.

Draft legislation proposes the introduction of minimum cigarette pricing next year.

Copyright 2014 CBS. All rights reserved.

 

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