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.
“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 the fight against smoking. Let’s free our country from tobacco addiction together!” the prime minister said.
The anti-tobacco bill drafted by the Health Ministry was submitted to the government on August 31. The draft law envisions a ban on cigarette sale in kiosks and restriction of cigarette advertising.
Medvedev said some 400,000 Russians die annually of smoking, adding 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 also 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.
Besies 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 January 1, 2015, Medvedev said.