Putin tackles smoking (+video)

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has approved a governmental program, aiming at reducing the number of smokers in the country by 40% and also put an end to second-hand smoking in five years.

A ban on advertising cigarettes in all sorts of media by 2012 and the simultaneous increase of excise duty on tobacco is expected to become the first major steps in this direction.

“Due to low tax rates, Russia receives almost 1-trillion roubles less every year, compared with Europe,” Dmitry Yanin, from the International Confederation of Consumer Groups, told RT. “That amount of money would enable Russia to modernize its healthcare system. Right now, it's the smoker's own choice – he is free to do whatever he wants with his health. But later he'll receive health care at the expense of the federal budget.”

The program also entails that smoking will be prohibited in all public places in Russia within five years.

Putin also hinted to the government that they should set an example – and quit their own dangerous nicotine addictions.

Russian smokers may have already felt the difference – starting from 2010 they have run up against huge “smoking kills” warnings.

Currently, 80% of Russia’s population – around 100 million people – smoke or suffer from second-hand smoking. In a number of regions, the number of male smokers exceeds 80%, and female ones – 67%.

In absolute figures, Russia ranks fourth in the world according to the number of smokers per capita after China, India, and Indonesia.

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