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100,000 sign petition against smoking ban in Russia

Published time: May 17, 2014 12:19
RIA Novosti/Alexandr Kryazhev

RIA Novosti/Alexandr Kryazhev

100,000 signatures have been collected for the petition calling Russian lawmakers to backpedal on the smoking ban. Also, restaurants and bars have found a way to partially avoid the ban that’s due to come into effect on June 1.

The Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia that unites over 3,000 food and beverage establishments is also demanding to postpone or cancel the ban on smoking in restaurants, cafes and bars.

The organization, along with the all-Russia movement “For the rights of smokers,” has drafted a list of amendments to the legislation and launched a petition, which collected 100,000 signatures in favor of the changes.

The supporters of smokers’ rights urge the government to allow tobacco ads and its sampling in special shops, letting in only those are 18 years of age and over.

Plus, those against the upcoming legislation are calling for reserving the rights for restaurants and bars to open smoking rooms and separate smoking and non-smoking spaces.

Finally, the supporters of smokers suggest excluding from the law the norms allowing Russian authorities to impose additional restrictions on smoking in public places and inside. Smoking advocates also urge letting employees and employers smoke in the workplace, with this point agreed in a collective contract.

The demands were forwarded to President Vladimir Putin, to the government and the State Duma, on Friday.

The Association’s lawyer Maria Orlova told Izvestia newspaper that the hospitality industry now hopes that the smoking ban will be slackened and restaurateurs will be allowed to set up separate spaces for smokers.

In our country, for the majority of the year, the temperatures stand at below zero, making the guests go outside to smoke in the cold is just inhuman,” Orlova said.

Restaurants, cafes, and bars are preparing for lower attendance and less money spent by the customers, she added.

Elena Mazur, the corporate communication director of “Rosinter Restaurants” network, believes that customers won’t stay away for too long.

We haven’t increased the number of places on the summer terraces, and haven’t resorted to any special measures,” she said, adding that she believes that patrons will have got used to the smoking ban by September and will return to restaurants.

Famous Moscow restaurateur, Arkady Novikov, told Izvestia newspaper that he doesn’t expect a decline in the number of visitors if the ban is imposed universally.

For now, summer terraces, separate smoking rooms and tobacco-free hookahs are set to make smokers’ lives easier.

The anti-tobacco law was approved in February last year and came into effect on June 1, 2013. However, restrictions are being introduced gradually: since last summer, smoking has been outlawed in certain public places, including educational, healthcare and sports facilities, airports, railway stations and bus stops, state administration premises, as well as in lifts and in stairways of apartment blocks.

The strictest part of the law comes into force on June 1 when puffing cigarettes will be banned in hotels, cafes, restaurants, market places and on passenger trains and ships.

Comments (67)


Steve Turner 28.05.2014 08:21

Hi Alex, I smoked for over 30 years but gave up 10 years ago. I too believed that smoking helped reduce stress. It is wrong - when smoking a cigarette your blood pressure and pulse rate both increase slightly.
I agree with you that food and lifestyle are also big contributors to health risk but if you can eliminate smoking it is a step in right direction. My dad still smokes at 85 but I don't think that is an argument in favour of smoking - some people re much more susceptible to the risks than others. Problem is how do you know which group you fall into - why take the risk?


RankAuthority 28.05.2014 06:51

This is insanity. I have been on all sides of this issue. From Court Rooms to Legislative Chambers to Petition drives. Both sides....

I am not a cigarette smoker and hate smelling the foul stuff.

But there is no need to outright ban smoking. Segregation with ventilation is all that is necessary.

There are simple yet advanced technologies today that can collect cigarette smoke from die hard smokers where non-smokers can co-exist just several feet away ... Get real and use the technology.


Ron Darcy 23.05.2014 08:25

Banned in ny of many years, banned in Europe for about 5 years, as a non smoker, it is a pleasure to enjoy my meal without inhaling smoke. Also when you leave a pub or dance place, your clothes don't stink in the morning and you do not have a cough or horrible throat! Seems all the smokers here and there comments are typical selfish, as it is there choice to destroy themselves by smoking. If you need a cigarette, step outside and enjoy it yourself. We do not need to be choked by your selfish habit! Russia come to your senses, and let the nonsmokers enjoy some fresh air! Smokers infringe on other peoples fresh air!

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