Russia's Health Ministry has submitted a draft law to parliament banning the open sale of cigarettes and smoking in public places, in a bid to cut deaths in the world's largest smoking nation.
The ministry hopes the new measures could reduce smoking by 40-50 percent, helping to reduce the annual mortality rate in Russia by 150,000 - 200,000.
The draft law would ban smoking in public places including common premises in residential houses, long-distance trains, entrances to railway stations, markets and public eating places.
Street kiosks will also be prohibited from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products. Only shops with an area greater than 50 square meters will be allowed to sell tobacco but they will not be able to display cigarettes openly. Furthermore, minimum retail prices are to be set for all tobacco products.
The draft law proposes banning cigarette advertising , which will require the law on advertising to be amended. Graphic images displaying the effects of smoking will also appear on cigarette packs in a year.
The draft law, devised by the Healthcare and Social Development Ministry is aimed at meeting the provisions suggested by the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
Russia is the number one tobacco consumer in the world, according to the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS). Some 43.9 million Russians smoke, or 39.1 percent of the population.