Russia’s parliament will open the first reading of a draft law banning smoking in public places on Dec. 14 and plans to pass the bill in 2013, missing this year’s target date set by the government, a lawmaker said.
“There are lots of questions about the draft -- we are talking about several hundred amendments,” Oleg Kulikov, a member of the Communist Party and deputy head of parliament’s health committee, said by phone from Moscow today. The amendments “will not eliminate any proposed measures, but may introduce changes to the timetable of their implementation.”
Russia, the world’s second-largest market for cigarette makers after China, proposed measures that will outlaw all tobacco advertising and sponsorship as well as kiosk sales immediately, with bans on cigarette trade in small retail outlets and smoking in public places taking effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The government wants the law passed this year, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said in an interview Oct. 18. Philip Morris International Inc. (PM:US), British American Tobacco (BATS), Japan Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco (IMT), which control 93 percent of the Russian market, hooked women and children on smoking, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a video blog Oct. 16, vowing to crack down on the habit.
The tobacco lobby in Russia is “strong enough” to continue efforts to push through amendments in parliament, according to Golodets.
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