News / Europe

Russia Attacks Smoking With Big Guns

Russia Attacks Smoking With Big Gunsi
James Brooke
June 05, 2014 5:05 PM
With an army of 44 million smokers, Russia is the world’s fourth largest cigarette market after China, India and Indonesia. But, as James Brooke reports for VOA from Moscow, that may soon change.
James Brooke
With an army of 44 million smokers, Russia is the world’s fourth largest cigarette market after China, India and Indonesia. But that may soon change.

In a revolution against King Tobacco, Russia has just banned smoking in all restaurants, bars, hotels, and trains. And it is now an increasingly common in Moscow to see groups of men and women smoking on the sidewalks.
Oleg Xhoroshim, a 43-year-old Moscow resident, welcomes the big change. He says he and his children are nonsmokers. They were tired of breathing other peoples' smoke.
He says, in little cafes and little restaurants, smoke spreads. So he fully supports the new law.
As Russian bars approach their first non-smoking weekend, bartenders worry that clients will stay away.

“You should have freedom to choose what you want. There are a lots of non-smoking restaurants in Moscow, so I think it makes no sense,” said Sergei Goncharov, who tends bar at John Donne Pub, a popular central Moscow establishment.
The ban even extends to Russia’s wildly popular “summer verandas.”  Smokers will have to stand five meters from these outdoor chairs and tables.
Opponents, like Goncharov, stress that in much of Russia outdoor temperatures are below freezing for half of the year.
“When it is summer, it is not so annoying.  But when it is cold, you should put on your coat and go somewhere,” he said.
Last year, Russia banned cigarette advertising, placed graphic warnings on cigarette packs, and restricted smoking in many areas.  Russia’s Health Ministry said these steps pushed 15 percent of the nation’s smokers to quit.
Now, Russia plans to increase cigarette taxes six times in an effort to cut the nation’s legion of smokers by another 15 percent.

Alexei Tatarsky, a lung specialist, approves.
"For the first time ever," he said, "the government is taking serious and decisive measures in the fight against smoking."
Today, 60 percent of Russian men smoke.  In Soviet days, cigarette shortages sparked riots.
Tatarsky says the Kremlin faces a challenge - changing the lives of almost half Russia’s adult population, without provoking a backlash.
Oleg Smolin, a smoker for 10 years, says adjusting to the new law will be tough, but doable.
“We will get used to it," he said.  And he asked, "if in Europe and in other countries, they get used to it, why can’t we?”
For now, Russians appear to be complying.  It could be fear of fines for violations: the ruble equivalent of $45 for a smoker, $1,000 for a restaurant, and $2,000 for a business.

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Comment Sorting
by: Carol14605 from: Wisconsin
June 06, 2014 12:41 PM
The anti-smoking movement is living proof that US democracy is nothing but a lie. The anti-smokers commit flagrant scientific fraud by ignoring more than 50 studies which show that human papillomaviruses cause at least 1/4 of non-small cell lung cancers. Smokers and passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus for socioeconomic reasons. And the anti-smokers' studies are all based on lifestyle questionnaires, so they're cynically DESIGNED to blame tobacco for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV. And they commit the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on tobacco.

And, all their so-called "independent" reports were ring-led by the same guy, Jonathan M. Samet, including the Surgeon General Reports, the EPA report, the IARC report, and the ASHRAE report, and he's now the chairman of the FDA Committee on Tobacco. He and his politically privileged clique exclude all the REAL scientists from their echo chamber. That's how they make their reports "unanimous!"

For the government to commit fraud to deprive us of our liberties is automatically a violation of our Constitutional rights to the equal protection of the laws, just as much as if it purposely threw innocent people in prison. And for the government to spread lies about phony smoking dangers is terrorism, no different from calling in phony bomb threats.
In Response

by: S H from: USA
June 07, 2014 9:13 PM
Having been a smoker myself, I disagree with your choice to combat the anti-smoking movement.

The People who chose to pursue their legal right to propose, debate and enact legislation gave you every opportunity to present your ideas, which you either failed to do, or failed to do convincingly.

Inhaling particulates is bad for lung tissue. YOU KNOW THIS.

Metabolizing toxins, and chemicals designed to stimulate changes in brain chemistry alters your physiology, and in a way that tarnishes your body and your environment.

That this behavior is viewed as addictive means that society must be very proactive about combating what is essentially a disease of free-will.

"Everything in Moderation"

by: JD
June 06, 2014 10:00 AM
The Hitler Youth and the League of German Girls both published antismoking propaganda, and the Association for the Struggle against the Tobacco Danger organized counseling centers where the ‘tobacco ill’ could seek help” (p.456-457); “Hitler Youth had anti-smoking patrols all over Germany, outside movie houses and in entertainment areas, sports fields etc., and smoking was strictly forbidden to these millions of German youth growing up under Hitler.” (www.zundelsite – January 27, 1998.htm)

by: Oleg from: Chukotka, Russia
June 06, 2014 4:14 AM
I have worked for the Kinross Gold Company on "Dvoynoye" site.
Despite our site is located in Russia and russians are majority here, it only allowed to smoke in special space. I don't like cigarette's smoke and I am happy to be here because when I here I know that air will always be clean.
I think such rules would be good for whole Russia, not only for our site.

by: john davidson from: Moscow
June 05, 2014 11:08 PM
The Führer thanks you from the grave:

Hitler was a Leftist
Hitler's Anti-Tobacco Campaign

One particularly vile individual, Karl Astel -- upstanding president of Jena University, poisonous anti-Semite, euthanasia fanatic, SS officer, war criminal and tobacco-free Germany enthusiast -- liked to walk up to smokers and tear cigarettes from their unsuspecting mouths. (He committed suicide when the war ended, more through disappointment than fear of hanging.) It comes as little surprise to discover that the phrase "passive smoking" (Passivrauchen) was coined not by contemporary American admen, but by Fritz Lickint, the author of the magisterial 1100-page Tabak und Organismus ("Tobacco and the Organism"), which was produced in collaboration with the German AntiTobacco League.

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Ukraine crisis and loaded language sparks concerns of a return of Nazi-era nationalism

by: Frank Davis from: England
June 05, 2014 10:11 PM
"if in Europe and in other countries, they get used to it, why can’t we?”

But we never actually got used to it. And neither will you.

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