Moscow marks No-Smoking Day

As part of international anti-smoking campaign, Moscow authorities wage war against ashtrays in restaurants and send superheroes to give lectures on tobacco’s killing effects.

No Smoking Sign

A girl holding smoking ban sign

Eager to take part in No-Smoking Day celebrations, 27 restaurants in Moscow have strictly banned smoking on their premises, removing ashtrays from the tables and cigarettes from the menu.

While the ban on smoking in public places is just waiting to be legally introduced, some places are stepping up to the initiative voluntarily. To support the initiative, the authorities promise draw an interactive map of smoking-free cafes – it will list all the eateries that decided to give up on smoking zones.

Nearly 35 per cent of working Russians and up to 90 percent of restaurants and bar visitors are passive smokers.

Rule of law

For the time being, the ban on smoking in public catering facilities is not obligatory. The draft anti-smoking law will be submitted to the State Duma by late 2011.

The ministry suggests banning smoking in public places and tobacco advertising, including on public transport from 2014, while hotels, cafes and nightclubs will become smoke-free starting 2015. By 2013, cigarettes should disappear from store shelves to be sold only by catalogue.

In another curious anti-tobacco move, the Health Ministry hired its own superhero to preach non-smoking policies on Moscow streets. The red horse, called Hammer, was stopping Muscovites who happened to be passing by and lectured them on the harmful effects on smoking.

At least 400,000 people die in Russia annually from smoking-related diseases. Official statistics indicate that 45 percent of Russian citizens have smoked, and 34 percent of them smoke all the time. Currently, the average age when a person starts smoking in Russia is 11 years. Despite the annual decrease in the population, cigarette consumption grows every year.

Forth cleanest in the world

Meanwhile, Moscow’s air quality turned out to be the fourth-cleanest among eight major cities in the world.

Stockholm topped the ranking, with Paris and Prague occupying second and third place respectively. Hong Kong came eighth, preceded by New York, Kiev and London.

Cars are named the main source of pollution, accounting for 90 per cent of all emissions. The rest is due to industry and energy companies.

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