Six months ago in Russia smoking was prohibited in many public places and now the authorities want to impose fines for those who light up in no smoking places. It is estimated that in the country 60% of men smoke and it is expected that the measure will reduce these numbers.
The law in Russia bans smoking in such public places as healthcare and educational facilities, government buildings, public transport and sports stadiums. However, there were introduced no fines for those who violate the law and it seems like the smoking rates remain the same.
It is expected that the situation is going to change with tougher measures introduced last week. Today 44 million people smoke in Russia and as it was said above, 60% of them are men.
Starting from November 15 fines were introduced and if you will be caught smoking within a 15 metres of a bus or a railway station, be ready to pay from 10 to 50 dollars. If you are smoking within 15 metres of a kid’s playground, the fines are much higher – $65 to $100. Those who sell tobacco to under aged can pay around $160 fine.
These measures are being introduced in order to enforce the existing smoking ban. However, when you enter a café or a restaurant, you will observe smokers all around, because full ban on smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants and trains does not come yet. Sceptics do not belive that such laws will work.
Andrey Loskutov, who represents CEO of Russia’s movement for the right of smokers, recalls that smoking is a psychological problem and it needs an absolutely different approach. Here will not help high fines because the addiction cannot be solved by an order. It is a difficult, long-term work to help smokers quit their habit.
However, the experience shows that fines have always been the most successful and effective measure to ensure legal compliance.
The anti-smoking law is part of Russia’s commitment to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which imposes tougher restrictions on tobacco by 2015. The major aim is to lower the number of smokers in Russia.
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