- Title: RUSSIA: Despite opposition, the country bans smoking in restaurants and bars
- Date: 1st June 2014
- Summary: MOSCOW, RUSSIA (JUNE 1, 2014) (REUTERS) PEOPLE COMING OUT OF GATE TO RED SQUARE CROWD GATHERED AT ENTRANCE TO RED SQUARE MEN SMOKING CIGARETTES (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW VISITOR AND SMOKER YURA, SAYING: "Children are out walking and one sits there and smokes or drinks alcohol. There should be special places for this and I think there is enough money here to do that." VARIOUS OF WOMAN SMOKING VARIOUS OF CIGARETTE BUTTS IN ASHTRAY PEOPLE WALKING ON PEDESTRIAN STREET WOMAN SMOKING VARIOUS OF MEN SMOKING PEOPLE SITTING IN OUTDOOR AREA OF RESTAURANT VARIOUS OF MAN FLIPPING PACK OF CIGARETTES (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW RESTAURANT WORKER, OLGA, SAYING: "We had two smoking areas, one on a porch and one smoking room. Yes, I can say there are fewer guests now, but now we have non-smokers with more children." RESTAURANT EXTERIOR WITH "NO SMOKING" SIGN "NO SMOKING" SIGN MAN WALKING ON STREET, SMOKING POLICE OFFICERS WALKING PEOPLE WALKING ON STREET (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW RESIDENT INNA, SAYING: "I think they (smokers) should also have some rights, but they shouldn't interfere with my life, the life of a person who never smoked, and no one in my family smoked. For me, it's a good law, a normal law, but I understand those who smoke." MOSCOW RESIDENT AND SMOKER, VLADIMIR, SMOKING WOMAN SMOKING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW RESIDENT AND SMOKER, VLADIMIR, ASKED WHETHER HE SUPPORTS THE LAW, SAYING: "Not really, then there should be special smoking places everywhere so people would also be able to smoke." PEOPLE WALKING IN SQUARE BY KREMLIN
- Embargoed: 16th June 2014 13:00
- Location: Russian Federation
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Information,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAEAGB9WFOUS6IQSJXNNRVIMBHU
- Story Text: Russia risked igniting the ire of its 44 million smokers when it extended bans on cigarettes to restaurants and bars on Sunday (June 1) as part of a battle to break the habit in one of heaviest-smoking countries in the world.
Russia began introducing tougher controls on smoking last summer, banning smoking in government buildings and advertising by tobacco companies.
As of June 1, smoking is also banned in bars, restaurants, hotels and on trains, and cigarettes will no longer be on display in shops or sold in kiosks. Many other nations already have similar restrictions. Some smokers say they understand the reason for introducing the restrictions, but say smokers' rights should be respected as well.
"Children are out walking and one sits there and smokes or drinks alcohol. There should be special places for this and I think there is enough money here to do that," said Yuri, who is visiting Moscow.
Bar and restaurant owners are fiercely opposed, fearing bans will cut business. Olga, a restaurant worker in central Moscow, said: "We had two smoking areas, one on a porch and one smoking room. Yes, I can say there are fewer guests now, but now we have non-smokers with more children."
According to a recent poll by independent Russian pollster Levada Centre, 82 percent of Russian restaurateurs expect customer numbers to drop from Sunday.
The World Health Organization says that smoking kills 5.4 million people worldwide every year.
Inna, a non-smoker said she supports the ban for health reasons.
"I think they (smokers) should also have some rights, but they shouldn't interfere with my life, the life of a person who never smoked," she said.
But for Russia's hardened smokers, the ban is nothing short of discrimination.
Moscow resident and smoker Vladimir was asked whether he supports the ban.
"Not really, then there should be special smoking places everywhere so people would also be able to smoke," he said, after smoking a cigarette on the square just outside the Kremlin wall.
The ban is the latest measure under President Vladimir Putin to promote healthy lifestyles - which goes hand in hand with his support for what he calls traditional values - and stem a population decline that began after the Soviet breakup.
Putin's government hopes to reduce the share of the adult population that smokes from 39 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, to 25 percent by 2020.
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