Nationwide Smoking Ban Comes Into Effect
Published: June 1, 2014 (Issue # 1813)
At 12:01 a.m. on June 1, a nationwide smoking ban in all enclosed public places went into effect across Russia.
The ban comes after smoking was prohibited in a number of public places including, at schools and universities, cultural and sporting organizations, beaches, stadiums, playgrounds, hospitals and in the offices of public organizations on June 1, 2013. Fines began to be introduced for smoking in these places from Nov. 15, 2013.
The newest restriction now forbids smoking in any public space, including hotels, restaurants and cafes, bars, trains and ships. Previously, restaurants and cafes were able to offer non-smoking sections and remain in compliance with the law. From today, patrons will only be allowed to smoke outdoors.
Business owners who allow smoking on their premises are now liable for fines of up to 90,000 rubles ($2,578). Smokers will be fined from 500 to 1,500 rubles ($14.32 to $42.98) for breaking the law.
The new law also regulates the way in which tobacco products can be sold and displayed. From June 1, cigarettes may be sold only in licensed shops and they may no longer be displayed. The law on sales is expected to have the greatest negative impact on small business owners who operate kiosks, which are no longer permitted to offer cigarettes for sale.
Russian legislation follows similar laws which have been enacted in many parts of the world over the past several decades.
A Gallup poll of over 26,500 Europeans conducted in December 2008 found "a majority of EU citizens support smoking bans in public places, such as offices, restaurants and bars." The poll also found that "support for workplace smoking restrictions is slightly higher than support for such restrictions in restaurants (84% vs. 79%). Two-thirds support smoke-free bars, pubs and clubs."