H/T Mike F for this. Seems the Russian Health minister is called Kalashnikov.
Kremlin Cracks Down on Big Tobacco
Russia, the World’s Second-Largest Cigarette Market After China, Plans ‘Harsh’ Anti-smoking Rules
MOSCOW—The Kremlin is finally getting tough on Big Tobacco, with a determined push to pass strict anti-smoking rules in the world’s second-largest tobacco market.
“We are ready. This is going to be a harsh measure, but it is absolutely necessary. It will take time—maybe another generation—but we will succeed in defeating smoking and promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said a spokesman for Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.
A bill that would establish nationwide smoking restrictions similar to those seen in much of the West—such as limits on advertising and smoking in restaurants—is expected to be submitted to parliament on Nov. 1 for a vote early next year.
A separate effort to raise excise duties nearly 135% by 2015 has already passed a parliamentary committee.
The battle represents a stark challenge to the world’s big four tobacco companies that control 90% of the Russian market….
In Russia, cigarettes cost a little over a dollar a pack, restaurants and bars are normally thick with smoke, and nearly 40% of the population (60% of men) light up, so the bill is a radical step.
Half of the country’s 44 million smokers consume a pack or more a day. Overall, Russians smoke 390 billion cigarettes a year, second only to China, and outpacing the U.S.—which has double the population and about the same number of smokers—by 20%….
Mr. Kalashnikov said the bill will ultimately pass because Mr. Putin—a nonsmoker known for his devotion to sports—has thrown his weight behind it.
“This law would not exist without Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin]. There is tremendous opposition to it, but it will be adopted,” he said.
Well, that’s going to be fun, when 60% of men smoke!
I can’t help but think that Tobacco Control may be about to meet its match out on the steppes of Russia.
Much like its Nazi predecessor, 70 years ago, it’s trying to do too much too quickly, and it’s becoming dangerously over-extended. I’ve been reading about it.
Seventy years ago today, Paulus’ Sixth Army occupied almost all of Stalingrad apart from a 1000 yard strip along the west bank of the Volga. They’d almost won.
In response to Smokervoter’s music links, here’s Cat Power singing (a different) Remember Me. I really think she should be as big a star as Lana Del Rey. She’s that good.