Russia’s master plan to ban smoking for future generations


If Russia’s Ministry of Health has its way, people born in 2015 and later will not be able to buy cigarettes or other tobacco products.

The anti-tobacco strategy was developed on the instructions of Minister Veronika Skvortsova and has been circulated among several federal agencies. Its aim, according to site Izvestia, is to counter tobacco consumption in the country until 2022.

The document was created in line with

“Izvestia” managed to get acquainted with the text of the “Concept of the state policy to counter tobacco consumption in the years 2017-2022 and beyond.” The main objective of the concept developed in accordance with article 5.3 of the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — a global public health treaty to reduce the burden of smoking. The treaty has been signed by over 180 countries across the world.

A nation of heavy smokers

Russia’s anti-smoking legislation has already seen smoking rates among adults drop from 39% to 33%.

According to the World Health Organisation, the prevalence of smoking among Russian teenaggers aged 15 years who smoke at least once a week has decreased among boys from 27 to 17% from 2006 to 2014, and among girls – from 21 to 10%. Among 13-year-olds, the figure decreased in boys from 18 to 9%, and the girls – from 17 to 7%.But this is not enough. According to the Ministry of Health, the loss of potential years of life in the working age-related premature mortality due to smoking, on average 9 years for men, for women – 5.6 years. Taking into account the loss of years of potential life or unlived years due to premature death from all causes associated with smoking, loss of profits in the production amounts to about 2% of GDP.

Less room for smokers

The strategy has further tightened the attitude toward smokers. It envisages a total ban on tobacco smoking:

  • in communal apartments,
  • on all kinds of road public transport, and
  • within three meters of shopping centres, underground and overground pedestrian crossings and from private cars when there are children in the car.

But the most important innovation could be a ban on the sale of tobacco to people born in 2015 and later. It means that children who do not use tobacco would be unable to  buy tobacco products for people who are currently the children and do not use tobacco.

Viktor Zykov from the State Research Center for Preventive Medicine in Ministry of Health at the Russian Federation told Izvestia said this measure would maintain their independence from the tobacco for life and preserve their health.

“Tobacco kills a significant portion of its customers. Therefore, the Ministry of Health has consistently proposed measures that could lead to the reduction of tobacco consumption to a minimum – ideally just after 15-18 years when children born today will grow up, it may be 5-10%. And in this state of affairs is allowed to sell tobacco even adults will be blasphemous. This long-term plan can be implemented only with the approval and the systematic and effective implementation of all the proposed measures, he said.

If the concept is approved, it will also mean a ban on the production, import and circulation of smokeless tobacco products.

* A verstion of this article first appeared on the Russian site Izvestia.