Tag Archives: public smoking bans

Russia to Introduce a Smoking Ban till the Sochi Olympics

The so expected ban on smoking in public places is approaching with the health ministry publishing its plans to introduce severe laws by 2014.

The law proposed by the government officials plans to prohibit smoking in all public places, including airports, train stations and transports till the Sochi Olympics. The price of a pack of cigarettes is planned to be increased in order to discourage people from this habit.

Russia Sochi Olympics 2014 logo

Smoking also will be banned in bars, cafes and nightclubs in 2015, and it will also include a ban on hookah.

A minimum retail price will be implemented, thus lifting costs up greatly.

Tobacco manufacturers will also be prohibited from sponsoring any events and advertising their smokes.

“Any companies and citizens can make their suggestions during the public debate,” the ministry declared.

Similar bans have been already introduced in many European countries as Finland, France, UK and Norway. The association of restaurants and hotels is ready for the ban, representative of the anti-tobacco coalition Nadejda Khalturina said Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Examples from all around the world demonstrate that not only their gains did not fall, but sometimes even increased, as people wanted to take children with them, and would sit longer in a room with clean air than in one full of tobacco smoke.

According to a world survey that was realized among Russian adults, 60.2% of men and 21.7% of women in the country light up regularly.

Approximately 43.9 million Russian smoking adults constitute about 40% of the economically active population. According to data an average Russian lights up 17 cigarettes per day, and 400,000 Russians die every year because of serious diseases caused by tobacco usage.

“The solution to the problem of smoking is concealed not in bans, but in helping those people who want to quit this dangerous habit. Those who want to smoke won’t stop even if bans are introduced,” said well-known blogger Anton Nosik.

Several ministers state that such tough measures can only bring to an increase in corruption and counterfeit products.

“In order to have no doubts one can only walk through any train where anyone who feels like it smokes under the ‘no smoking ’sign.

It is not the question of how severe the punishment is, but of its inevitability. And we even do not have that. Who will enforce the law? Those police officers, 99% of whom are heavy smokers.” Nosik said.

“Prohibit the sales and manufacture of tobacco in any form, and I will be the first to stop smoking and begin jogging. But while cigarettes are legally distributed and sold, people are not prohibited to use them and allow millions of smokers to enjoy the great taste and flavor of their favorite smokes,” said blogger Andrei Kuprikov.

New York City Residents Oppose Ban on Smoking in Public Places

The New York City will start implementing its resolute ban on smoking in public places, but the majority of smokers state that they would rather fight against than quit.

A lot of Marlboro men and women state that they will break Mayor Bloomberg’s Smoke Free Air Act, which was approved in February and will come into effect on May 23.

NY resident smoking

The new law prohibits smoking in beaches, public parks and Brooklyn Heights Promenade, where it will be very soon illicit to light up and walk. Those who infringe the law will have to pay a $50 fine.

“This situation is unfair because we pay $12 or $13 per pack of cigarettes and now we found that there is no place where we could smoke them. But I will risk and continue to smoke in public,” stated Leor Hadar as he smoked on the Boardwalk.

Bloomberg has been pushing the law, underlining the dangers of secondhand smoke, pointing that even slight exposure to cigarette smoke can cause asthma attacks and various respiratory diseases.

According to a research, about 7,500 New Yorkers die annually from cigarette smoke, and a great number of non-smokers have significant levels of nicotine in their blood.

“The evidences are clear, continuous exposure to secondhand smoke whether at home or in public affect your health,” stated Mayor Bloomberg.

“This is silly. Should we now avoid cabs, bases and everything that possesses harm and affects our health? There are a lot of places that do that,” stated Boerum Hill resident Addy Fox.

Several others smokers stated that the city must not urge them to stop smoking, especially in public places.

“Being in a park, you always have the choice to walk away from those who smoker,” said Josh Black.

One more complicated matter is that smoking is not prohibited on state park that means that smokers can light up at East River State Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park when they want.

In 2002 Bloomberg, being a former smoker significantly raised taxes on tobacco products from $0.08 to $1.50 per package. In the following year he removed cigarettes from bars and restaurants.

And last year the state under the Bloomberg’s guidance, increased taxes with an extra $1.60 per package, thus the price of 20 cigarettes is $14.

At the same time Bloomberg donated hundreds of millions to anti-smoking campaigns. Probably the main problem is that a lot of smokers doubt that the city will be able to implement this new law.

Hookah Venues Prospering in Chicago

Three years after the state prohibited smoking in public places, Chicago hookah venues are most spread than ever.

Employing a loophole that permits owners to smoke inside tobacco shops, a lot of exotic smoking dens have raised in the city since the Smoke Free Illinois Act was adopted in 2008, causing enough worries to some health officials.

Hookah Venues Prospering in Chicago

Concerned by the opening of its first hookah venue, Skokie is the first community to tighten up restrictions in an effort to eradicate the trend.

“We do not want to go back. We don’t want to have smoking in our community,” stated Dr. A. Michael Drachler, chairman of Skokie’s Board of Health.

Becoming more and more popular among teenagers in recent years, hookah originated from India nearly five centuries ago and till now remains a favorite pastime. The often decorated devices use charcoal in order to heat a bowl of flavored tobacco, thus producing smoke that is inhaled through a tube.

About 50 hookah venues are straggling through Chicago and its suburbs.

Illinois law bans smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars, but tobacco stores are exempt if more than 80% of revenue is received from the sale of tobacco products and accessories. The stores should file annual affidavit with the Illinois Department of Public Health to permit business owners to partake indoors.

“There were cafes and restaurants in town that were permitted to smoke for years and then we ceased them from doing it, and these new venues came in and we stated you can smoke in there. With the urge for smoke-free environments, we just supposed that it was the most appropriate thing to do,” declared Mayor Randy Keller.

About the same time, Palos Hills implemented a tough Cook County ordinance banning smoking in all enclosed public places.

“It became a hangout,” stated Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett.

Often mixed up with fruit and herbs, hookah tobacco is considered safer by adherents, who underline their lower nicotine and tar levels than in regular cigarettes, and the potential filtering advantages of a water pipe.

A regular cigarette possesses more tar and nicotine, but it is burned within five minutes, with about 300 to 500 milliliters of smoke inhaled, according to a research. Hookah session can last for hours, with 10 liters or even more inhaled.

The researches also stated that sharing a water pipe may raise the risk of transmission of tuberculosis and other viruses as herpes or hepatitis.

“It is very pleasant and relaxing. In stead of going to a bar you can simply come here and enjoy it with you friends,” stated Tammy Najjar, a credit analyst.

Victims of cigarette tax increase

The Sharps, a farmer family from North Carolina has become famous for the high-quality tobacco they have been growing on their farms for many decades. However, when the federal excise tax on tobacco products was increased by 150 per cents, the Sharp family became frustrated by finding themselves somewhere near bankruptcy.

Peter Sharp, who has been growing tobacco from his early childhood and crops more than million pounds of tobacco on 500 acres every year, admitted that their customers reduced their orders on the threshold of inevitable sales declines. Mr. Sharp also said that they and other farmers would have to fire up to a half of their workers in order to cope with losses.

victims of cigarette tax

Following public smoking bans that were imposed in every state across the United States, state cigarette tax increases and constant influence of anti-smoking groups, the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco products were supposed to decline by almost 5 per cent in 2009.

Yet, with the new federal tax on cigarettes that jumped from 39 cents to $1.01 a pack on Wednesday, April 1, industry experts predict up to 10 per cent decline in the sales of cigarettes. Other tobacco products would also suffer.

Sharp said tobacco retailers have cut their orders by one third, and industry tycoons Philip Morris USA and Reynolds American reduced their orders for his tobacco by 5 percent when the bill regarding federal excise tax increase was signed into law. Growers admitted that the tobacco consumption cutbacks would definitely trigger a kind of a domino effect because farmers would have no money to pay salaries, to buy fuel and equipment. Therefore, that would have a huge and very grievous impact on the entire community, affecting many people.

Farmers who had been raising tobacco were always firmly protected by local authorities for many decades, like lawmakers from Michigan and New York rigorously defend their automobile industry and Wall Street, since tobacco growing still is a hugely profitable business. According to the reports, only in the state of North Carolina the tobacco harvest was worth almost $700 million last year.

However, politicians do not take care of ‘Golden Leaf’ anymore. Several years ago Congress abolished the price support and quotas for tobacco, the system that was established during Depression. Last week the Washington lawmakers went even further by providing the Food and Drug Administration with the powers to regulate tobacco products.

North Carolina Assembly members are now debating over increasing the state taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products to unimaginable and incredible $1 per pack. Just four years ago the state cigarette tax was only a nickel.

Kay Hagan, a Democrat Senator from North Carolina was initially against the federal tax hike, stating that her native state would lose almost $40 million in revenue and 3,000 work places. However, she then changed her mind, and voted for the corresponding bill, saying that she decided to support the health of future generations, an excuse, local farmers like the Sharp family simply does not understand.

Jeff Thompson, Sharps’ neighbor railed at the Congress decision, saying that those programs that would benefit many children across the nation should not be paid by a small group of tobacco consumers and growers only. He added that it would be fair if all the tax payers would have paid for that program.

Thus, the tax increase became another huge hit for the farmers who have just recovered from 25 percent sales decline in 2005 when tobacco quotas were abolished. Since 2005, farmers have turned their head to exports and new tobacco-containing products created by tobacco industry moguls.

During these four years tobacco industry has invented new marketing strategies, launching such products as snus, chewing tobacco and other products to the cigarette market. These products were supposed to become cheaper alternatives for cigarettes, but the federal tax hike affected them as well.

Tobacco growers also began selling their harvest to China and other countries, however farmers complain that cheap tobacco from Brazil and African countries restricts the volumes ordered from overseas and therefore could not help them to overcome losses.