October 16, 2012 - 13:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has urged Russians to support the fight against smoking as a smoking ban bill is being considered by the government, RIA Novosti reports.
“I would like to stress one simple thing: neither the government nor the state fight smokers, but we are against smoking,” Medvedev said in a video address. “Over 80 percent of our nationals, including two-thirds of regular smokers, support this fight. Let’s free our country from tobacco addiction together.”
The anti-tobacco bill drafted by the Health Ministry was submitted to the government on Aug 31, 2012. The draft law envisions a ban on cigarette sale in kiosks and restriction of cigarette advertising.
Medvedev said some 400,000 Russians die because of smoking annually, and added that the new bill is aimed at protecting the interests of nonsmokers.
“Children should not breathe tobacco smoke or see smoking as something normal, which happens every day, at a children’s playground, at school, university, in a polyclinic or café,” he said.
The premier said the bill allows smokers to smoke where others will not be harmed. “This anti-tobacco initiative is the beginning of a long road,” he said.
Besides calling against smoking in public places, Medvedev also said cigarette sales should be restricted, adding that tobacco advertising should be prohibited and the tax burden on tobacco manufacturers raised.
The government will consider the new bill by the end of October. A ban on smoking in public places is due to be imposed from Jan 1, 2015, Medvedev said.