Nearly half of Russia is hooked on cigarettes, with almost 40 percent of its 143-million-strong population regularly puffing away on tobacco products. But amidst recent pushes to kick the habit, Russia has suggested their most radical action yet.
The Russian Ministry of Health has proposed a new plan to ban the sale of tobacco to people born in 2015 onwards, according to a report seen by the Russian news site Izvestia. The ban could come into force by 2033. This means that smoking could someday be illegal for everyone in Russia.
The Russian Federation has followed with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and made huge steps to ban tobacco advertising, raise tobacco tax, and prohibit smoking in public places since 2013. A poster that read “Smoking kills more people than Obama, although he kills lots and lots of people,” even turned up in a Moscow bus shelter early last year.
The drive has made a dent in the number of smokers, although old habits die hard. It’s still estimated that 12 percent of kids aged 15 smoke everyday. Many others are turning to “smokeless” vaping.
If this legislation passes, it would be up there with some of the world’s most stringent. Bhutan in Asia is widely considered to have some of the harshest tobacco control laws in the world, where the cultivation, harvest, manufacture, supply, distribution, and sale of tobacco products is banned.
As for the wider world, 6 million people are killed by tobacco each year, 600,000 of which are non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke. Eighty percent of the world’s smokers remain in low- and middle-income countries.
[H/T: BBC Newsbeat]