Smokefree legislation/ initiatives
Russia has very weak smokefree laws (see http://data.euro.who.int/tobacco/pdf/Conversion1.pdf). There are no public places where smoking is outright banned except on the metro and buses. The ban on smoking in the metro is widely observed. However, bus drivers frequently smoke (passengers usually do not). In all other public places, including workplaces, smoking is restricted to smoking areas or rooms, rather than being banned. In workplaces there is an obligation on the employer to provide a smoking area/room (the legislation is not clear on whether it is a room or area). Workplace smoking areas often end up being the stairwells.
Russia ratified the FCTC in June 2008. In February 2009 lawmakers began debating a new tobacco control bill that mimics the tough, anti-tobacco legislation implemented across much of Europe in recent years, potentially eradicating smoking in many of the country’s restaurants and bars. The move – proposed by members of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s political party – would follow Russia’s entry last spring into the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. (GlobaLink 21 Feb 2009)
Smokefree resources available in 2009
Bloomberg Initiative grants (see www.tobaccocontrolgrants.org)
Open Health Institute/Russian FCTC Coalition
Project to create a sustainable tobacco control infrastructure in Russia; to disseminate information aimed at denormalising tobacco use and increasing transparency of government action; to improve public understanding of the health effects of tobacco and support for tobacco control; and to achieve high media coverage.
Note: All information below was compiled in 2008
The following groups are working on tobacco control:
Open Health Institute – the largest public health NGO doing this work. www.ohi.ru/. Includes Anti-tobacco Advocacy Coalition
Konfop, a consumer rights organisation.
Russian language – see the ADIC site in Ukraine www.adic.org.ua/adic/.
No one group in particular is focusing on smokefree in Russia, although there are a few local initiatives in the regions of Russia, such as
Tatarstan and the Chuvash Republic.
Public education materials/implementation or enforcement materials
Open Health Institute. Materials available at www.ataca.ru (ATACa) including some Canadian and Australian videos on secondhand smoke.
OHI also use translated version of ASH review of secondhand smoke and WHO smoker’s body.
Needs related to implementing smokefree policies
More public and professional education on smokefree. Doctors don’t advise patients to quit smoking and pregnant women are advised to continue smoking.
Factors helping or hindering the implementation of Article 8
1. Tobacco industry control of the legislative process – the industry sits on the Duma Health Committee that considers tobacco control legislation. PM’s lawyer and the BAT representative are at every session. In addition “corporate social responsibility” keeps many parliamentarians and government officials on the tobacco industry payroll. The PM website has a list of Russian NGOs that they donate to. Most of these NGOs are run by Ministers, government officials or their family members.
2. High prevalence rates – smokefree initiatives are not as popular in Russia as they are elsewhere. Smoking prevalence is high (men 60%; women 30%) so smokefree policies have met with a lot of resistance. The news regarding FCTC ratification led to many newspaper articles about how it will infringe smoker’s rights. While some of these articles are likely planted by the tobacco industry, it seems that they represent the views of many journalists and members of the public.
3. Lack of education (see above).
Other countries that have influenced smokefree laws
Russia’s laws in general influence the region. Many of the Former Soviet Republics (FSRs) have copied Russia’s laws. However, Russia does not like to be seen as lagging behind (a possible reason for ratification). Therefore, if many of the FSRs passed and implemented strong smokefree legislation, this might force Russia to act as well.
First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes Online