Smoke-Free Sochi

Smoke-Free Sochi

Standing outside a Cinnabon store in the mountains in Sochi, Anna Ivanova,   25-year-old from Moscow, smoked a menthol cigarettes. She said that she did not thought that Russian authorities would make Sochi smoke-free for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Anna said she was surprised with that initiative. Today many people smoke in Russia because Russia has cheapest cigarettes in Europe. Thus cigarettes are available to everyone.

In the Sochi’s Olympic venues, including restaurants and bars, there is prohibited sale and consumption of cigarettes, but the smoking ban isn’t tightly enforced. Thus you may see smoking people inside the medals plazas and by arena entrances, and lots of  cigarette butts are left there.

Russian authorities attempts to prohibit smoking on the Winter Olympics in Sochi demonstrate the great desire to make its population more healthy because today Russia is on the second place after Kazakhstan with lowest life expectancy in Europe. Major causes of low life expectancy are excessive tobacco use, alcoholism, fatty diet and HIV epidemic.

The WHO representative in Russia, Luigi Migliorini, told that smoking, alcohol and fatty diet together do contribute to development of cardiovascular diseases. This is major cause of mortality in Russia.

During Olympic Games, smoking is restricted in Sochi. The anti-smoking measure was taken to protect more than 155,000 athletes, delegates and volunteers from secondhand smoke exposure on the Olympic venues. For the smokers there were designated special smoking areas.

Generally sanctions are not applied to visitors. However, volunteers and workers caught smoking may lose their accreditation.  The initiative is going to promote national tobacco-control legislation.  Sochi is one of the first to develop a regional tobacco-control strategy,

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