RIA NOVOSTI (Russia) KOMMERSANT (Russia)
MOSCOW - Smokers, so much for the wild East. The public smoking bans already in place in Western Europe look set to expand to Russia by 2015, RIA Novosti reports. The Russian Duma will be voting on new smoking legislation that includes restrictions on advertising and sales of cigarettes, as well as a general ban on smoking in public places.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is the proposed law’s biggest cheerleader. The Prime Minister has said that the total ban on smoking has already been instituted in the Russian White House, where his government is based, RIA Novosti reports.
Medvedev noted that there are slightly fewer smokers among the government than in the general population: One in five Duma members smokes. There are 44 million smokers in Russia, which is one third of the total Russian population, including children.
Russia has the highest percentage of smokers in the world, Kommersant reports. Not unsurprisingly, the president of the National Medical Association says the sooner smoking is banned in public places, the better.
But not everyone agrees: Lev Rubinshtein, a poet, says that if people perceive repression against smokers, they might pick up a cigarette as an act of protest, Kommersant reports.