Russia - govt talks the talk but can't walk the walk..

October 27, 2010 - Back on October 12, 2010 we reported that Russia is launching an anti-smoking program, maybe they're serious this time about clamping down on smoking.

The Next Generation - Russsia - 73 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls smoke...

Now we find that government deputies have come up with the revised draft of a new anti-smoking law that is seen as less radical than its predecessor. Despite a public inclination towards drastic measures against smoking in public places, the deputies decided that it is still too early to introduce a ban on cigarette sales at kiosks or on smoking in restaurants and bars.

Although the new draft requires kiosks to receive a special license for selling tobacco, the sales will still be permitted for another two years. After that, deputies promise, the total ban will be entered into force. Owners of bars and restaurants will then be obliged to seat their smoking customers in a separate room – or provide the smoking area with extra ventilation facilities. This also has to be done within two years.

The ban on smoking in schools, indoor sports facilities, elevators and public transport will become effective in six months after the law is adopted.

The previous version of the draft, drawn in August, was much less compromising. It could totally ban kiosks and small shops from selling tobacco products.

By doing so, deputies hoped to transfer the tobacco market into the hands of large food networks. At the moment, more than 75 percent of cigarettes are sold by kiosks. However, tobacco companies managed to force officials into softening the legislation.

“The tobacco industry is very creative,” Darya Khalturina, co-head of the Anti-Tobacco Coalition, told RT. “It used the National Trade Association, which organized letter-writing campaigns from 3,000 workers of kiosks. They wrote to the authorities that their kiosks would have no business because of this bill. Some officials were too attentive to these appeals.”

Reference: VIDEO - Russia to sweeten anti-smoking pill, Prime Time (RT) Russia, 10/25/2010

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