Another Russian Smokers’ Conference

I remain rather fascinated by the discovery that the Russian smokers’ movement has become an international movement, with 21 countries attending their recent conference.

Today I found a report on a third purely-Russian conference earlier this year (Google translation again).

Moscow hosted the III Congress of the Movement for Rights smokers
Published May 19, 2014

May 16, 2014 in Moscow hosted the III All-Russian Congress of the movement for the rights of smokers . In the framework of the Congress Movement has summed up the collection of signatures in support of the anti-smoking legislation changes. According to the results of a large-scale campaign smokers send a letter to the President of the Russian Federation VV Putin with 103,557 signatures, both smoking and non-smoking citizens from more than 500 localities in Russia from Kaliningrad to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Petition to amend the Federal Law “On protection of public health from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption” has six main points. Among them – the restoration of isolated smoking areas in hotels, hostels, airports, railway stations, long-distance trains, river and sea vessels; regulation of the issue of smoking in the workplace, with the participation of representatives of employers, workers and trade union committee; preservation of bars, restaurants and cafes, where smoking is allowed, and others.

In support of the initiatives of the Movement has expressed an honored guest of the Congress, honored lawyer of the Russian Professor Michael Barschevsky : “In my memory, this anti-smoking law in the part in which it comes into force on June 1, – probably the most discriminating of those that I have seen. When it comes to the ban on tobacco advertising, the fact that tobacco products are not sold at the checkout in the supermarket, I can understand that. I can understand those who are trying to prevent youth smoking. But when the law was adopted, which, in essence, the law on genocide smokers – this I can not understand. The main thing is that he – a pointless and will not be executed. The cynicism of this law lies in the fact that people accept it, understand this. Movement is today millions of smokers express public opinion. So I hope that our legislators will listen to you, at least in part draconian and unreasonable restrictions, which will be introduced from June 1 ” . Regulation Petitions also supported visited Congress Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Nikas Safronov , master of the game “What? Where? When? ” Alexander Druz , journalist Olga Beklemischeva , writer Dmitry Kosirev and poet Alexei Alekhine . Honored Artist of the Russian Federation Nikas Safronov : “If people are already accustomed to tobacco smoke can not deny it. Need a culture of education, so as not to start smoking a new generation. In addition, smoking in our culture – it is a whole layer. Break the already established traditions – all the same, that cut down the vineyards. If people continue to smoke, you need to at least train them to do it right ” . Earlier sign the petition called on famous artists, politicians and public figures: Andrei Makarevich, Vladimir Vishnevsky, Garik Sukachev, Valery Sjutkin Arkady Arcana, Andrew Zhitinkin Leonid Zhukhovitsky, Gennady Seleznev. One of the points of the petition concerning the regulation of smoking in the workforce, also supported by representatives of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia converts to April 2014, an open letter to the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation DA Medvedev and Chairman of the State Duma of the SE Naryshkin. Deputy Chairman of the primary trade union organization “Uralvagonzavod” Eugene Lutokhin noted at the Congress: “We have a huge manufacturing plants: for example, a foundry, which I headed 10 years, roughly equal in size 5 football fields. In a change in this shop operates 600 people. Of them – half of smokers. By law, the worker, no matter where it is, it is necessary to leave the shop, move, smoke and come back. Such an approach violates the labor process. In large enterprises, it is important that the production worked rhythmically, manufactured products in the right quantity, quality. This requires precise organization of the labor process, discipline and the ability for a person to meet their needs, including a smoking ” . Deputy General Director of “Aksai Metallurgical Company” (production holding “South-Met”, Rostov-on-Don) Vladimir Podlepenets : “anti-smoking law, we do not work and never will not work. Smoking among workers in manufacturing – about 60-80%. Even before the adoption of the law, we have tried in 2010 to combat smoking: banned all smoking in the office, in the shop, on the street smoking room built by the workers. A week later – a huge number of patients: a man working near the stove, ran into the street in the cold season … Those who have been at work, may submit Behold, I come to a person working near the smelter, and tell him to smoke harmful. Do you think he will understand me ?! As a result, we do not allow smoking only in dangerous places. Generally, when I first read this law, my first thought was: “They wanted the best, but it turned out as always.” The greater the force a person to quit the force, the more he will want to smoke. Act in such a way as it is now, never will not work ” . The congress has been updated governing the Movement: extended powers co-chairs of Mikhail Boyarsky , Beklemischevoy Olga and Mikhail Leontiev and elected new co-chairs – Gennady Seleznev and Alexander Druz . Executive Director of the Movement was approved by Andrew Rags . soon Movement finalize collected signature lists and send them with a covering letter to the reception of the President of the Russian Federation VV Putin, as well as begin with the development of the legal text of the amendments to the Federal Law “On protection of public health from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the effects of tobacco use” in accordance with paragraphs Petitions.

With Russia having had a smoking ban in force since 1 June (and a milder one since 2013), how come such a powerful smokers’ movement has emerged so rapidly in Russia? My best guess is that, throughout the Cold War era, Russians weren’t receiving the sort of antismoking indoctrination that more or less every adult in the West was getting. They’ve not had 60 years of conditioning. It’s probably only in the last 20 years that they’ve been getting any antismoking indoctrination, and 20 years isn’t enough to beat you into cowed compliance. This, and the fact that Russian male smoking prevalence is about 60%, so that there are some 40 million Russian smokers, was always likely to ensure a strong resistance.

But how come it’s also gone international so rapidly? Again, the answers may lie in history. During the Cold War era, Moscow was Communism’s Mecca, and it had contacts and channels all over the world. Most of these communication channels probably still exist. So using these channels, they were able to begin to build a world smokers’ International movement. Of the 21 countries represented, I note that over half were from countries which were either in the old Eastern Bloc, or had large Communist parties. That said, the principal figures in the Russian Smokers’ Rights movement don’t appear to be in the least bit Communist in their sympathies.

And I was thinking today that it would be supremely ironic if Moscow were to become a beacon of freedom in the struggle for Smokers’ Rights, and Europe’s 150 million oppressed smokers began to look eastwards to Russia for their liberation. The world would have truly been turned upside down. Even even if Vladimir Putin really is an antismoking healthist, I’m not sure that he could resist such a golden opportunity to turn the tables on the West, and make Russia into the Voice of Freedom, and start, say,… Berlin-airlifting cheap cigarettes into Europe.

Because I’m still betting that the Russian smoking ban won’t last very long. There are too many smokers there, and it’s too cold in winter, and – as we have seen – they’ve rapidly organised.


About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to Another Russian Smokers’ Conference

  1. smokervoter says:

    It just so happens that as I was reading this post with NHK News from Japan on the telly in the background, a story about smoking in South Korea came on. I punched the volume button up an listened in. It was the same old story, lots of Koreans smoke and a godawful bunch of brooding antismoking scum are out to stop them. The faces on the smokers were upbeat, contrasted with the usual dour countenance of the antismokers, all scowling away miserably. God, I hate their F-ing guts, the whole lot of them. They’re a worldwide scourge on humanity.

    Anyway, at the end of the presentation they showed a resistance group of Korean smokers fighting an 80% tax increase and seeking more accommodation.

    They are calling themselves “I Love Smoking”.

    I love it. No more scrounging around on our knees making lame excuses and engaging in statistical duels.

    It’s real simple. We love smoking. I know I do.

    • beobrigitte says:

      The Koreans…. That is the South Koreans who by now have adjusted mentally to the North Korean leader landing a nuclear bomb on them if his left testicle does not perform.

      The population is so used to REAL threats that it no longer worries fictional ones!
      “We love smoking”. End of. No discussion.
      No idiotic BBC ‘interviews’ starting off with “I know, smoking is bad”… IT ISN’T!!! How on earth do we live longer NOW? The ever increasing number of centenarians must worry the government; there is care to be paid for people who LIVED THROUGH smoking/passive smoking for decade.

      Start thinking!

  2. A toast to the Russkies ‘n Koreans!


    • smokervoter says:

      I’ll take ya’ up on that Michael. Peter Vella California Red Wine (with some Ginger Ale) here. $10 for a 5-liter box out the door, tax included. Wine snobs the world over are cringing.

      Whatcha’ having out there in Philly?

      OK. On the count of three, raise glasses.

      • beobrigitte says:

        A toast to the Russians and Koreans!!! Lighting up my rollie made from my special tobacco (additive free American Spirit) to that, too!

        (I know, it’s a bit delayed…. it must be the time difference…)

      • A three count it is! Raising Popov’s Vodka on my end! (Not sure about the Korean national tipple, but vodka’s fairly universal in any event!


  3. nisakiman says:

    I think you’re probably right about the reason why the Russians are resisting. In fact I doubt they’ve had even 20 years of anti-smoker indoctrination. It probably only really started in earnest with the ascendency of Putin.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    The Russian pessimist said it cant get any worse than this!

    The Russian Optimist said OH YES IT CAN!

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    Government Warning: Freedom May be Dangerous to Your Health
    Michael Schaus | Oct 09, 2014

    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is trying to ban smoking… Everywhere. Well, at least everywhere someone might be working, so I guess that’s not as many places as you might think. (Hat tip to Obamanomics.) The CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has suggested banning all tobacco consumption at every work place in the nation… Because, ya know, the nanny-state can never be too big, right?

    The ban would apply to not only office buildings, restaurants, and retail stores, but it would also apply to any outdoor location (such as construction sites, landscaping work, and even places like commercial farms). Oh… And it’s not limited to only cigarettes. Even smokeless alternatives would be banned under the Nannycrats vision for a tobacco-free labor force. As a side note: unconfirmed reports of Michael Bloomberg weeping with joy have been trickling in since the CDC decided to out-nanny the former NYC Mayor.

    But, really, why stop at merely banning a legal (albeit unhealthy) activity (on private property owned by private businesses)? The CDC, apparently, felt that Bloomberg style regulation wasn’t quite enough overreach for their self-righteous vision of compulsory national health initiatives… Which is why their plan also incorporates a lovely dimension of state-sponsored shaming. According to the Free Beacon:

    [The plan would] ban smoking in outdoor work areas and have bosses ask which of their employees smoke so they can “promptly provide encouragement to quit.”

    I can only assume that the original language of the proposed regulation – asking bosses to arrange a public flogging for current tobacco-consuming employees – was struck down as “too severe.” Maybe we should just start publicly beating anyone that dares to take a puff from a Lucky Strike… At least that would be more straightforward than crafting a lengthy regulation that usurps property rights and individual sovereignty.

    The point of government (according to the notes I took from the Federalist Papers) isn’t to compel the public into making healthy life-decisions… Smoking bans, of any nature, that are imposed by government on private businesses are already an egregious violation of property rights. Oh sure, it might be nice to grab a beer without someone blowing mentholated cancer in your face; but that’s not really the point. Quite frankly, if a private business wants to allow private individuals the choice to light up on private property… well… who is the government protecting in banning such a voluntary arrangement?

    The ban on smokeless tobacco and outdoor locations, however, takes things to an even more absurd level. After all, the primary argument behind banning smoke is that other people are exposed to it “against their will”. (Am I supposed to assume that before our current criminalization of puffing away indoors, non-smokers were hog-tied and hauled into smoky bars while they screamed out in protest? Because I don’t really remember those days that well.) Let’s face it: it’s not really possible to get a “second hand” cancer from chewing tobacco. (Eew… Move on before you think about that too much.) Apparently the real objective here is to regulate all you unhealthy tobacco consumers into being healthier, well-adjusted, Americans. I guess we’ll get to banning those high-capacity sodas in the years to come.

    To make matters worse, the liberals in DC have also decided that some animals are more equal than others. After all, these are (largely) the same heartfelt progressives that think it’s inappropriate to drug-test welfare recipients. Heck, in Colorado there are activists who are trying to make sure EBT cards will continue to be allowed at marijuana shops. So, go ahead and get high on taxpayer dollars; just don’t you dare smoke a Camel Light, or take a dip of Copenhagen Snuff, if you’re landscaping someone’s yard for a living.

    With their latest proposed regulation, the CDC has fully embraced the nannyism of Bloomberg & Company. The trend of using government to inflict “appropriate” life choices on the masses is growing. And while the CDC’s proposed ban will undoubtedly make for a marginally healthier workforce (again… that’s not as big of an impact as it probably should be, given our current employment situation), it’s at the cost of individual sovereignty.

    Cigarettes are certainly an unhealthy, unwise, and ultimately devastating habit to pick up… but, then again, so is voting for big government (and that doesn’t even have a 1-800 quit-line).

    • carol2000 says:

      A typical worthless, anti-smoker-approved fake opponents, who calls them “nannies” instead of criminals, and has nothing to say about their scientific fraud, which he evidently endorses (“Cigarettes are certainly an unhealthy, unwise, and ultimately devastating habit to pick up” – the mark of the true believer).

      • smokervoter says:

        He was going along so good until that last paragraph. Yeah, you’ve got it right, just another true believer scoring libertarian brownie points at the expense of cigarette smokers.

        I went and read everything he’s written about smoking and you’re right — he’s loves to use smoking as a metaphor for his dislike of the nanny state. I happen to think the property rights issue is germane to our struggle and I hate it when an uninvited third party sticks his nose into my private affairs over anything.

        I was going to say that he obviously doesn’t love to smoke and that’s one of the reasons he chose to end his little treatise the way he did.

        That is until I saw this statement amended to the end of a gun rights/anti Bloomberg article he once wrote:


        Michael Schaus

        (A gun-carrying, cigar-smoking, soda-drinking, Conservative, non-New Yorker.)

        PS: I’m going to name my next gun after you.

        • “He was going along so good until that last paragraph.He was going along so good until that last paragraph.”

          It’s possible that was grafted on at the insistence of an editor.

          – MJM

        • Some French bloke says:

          @ MJM. Unlikely, since the last paragraph would have been grafted onto an article already interspersed with several direct or implicit endorsements:

          “a legal (albeit unhealthy) activity”

          “grab a beer without someone blowing mentholated cancer in your face”

          “it’s not really possible to get a ‘second hand’ cancer from chewing tobacco”

          “the CDC’s proposed ban will undoubtedly make for a marginally healthier workforce”

          So that’s five endorsements in ten paragraphs…

        • waltc says:

          Editors can inject things into the middle or even the beginning of articles. And in most cases, the writer doesn’t even see the changes till he reads the magazine. Trust me. I know. This smacks of editorial mothering. That or the guy himself felt obliged to pay obeisance to cultural correctness. I do wish Carol would stop damning everyone who doesn’t ride her particular hobby horse.

  6. carol2000 says:

    Where There’s Smoke, There’s No Opera
    By Felicia R. Lee, October 9, 2014 12:20 pm
    An Australian opera company’s decision to ban performances of “Carmen” for two years because it depicts smoking is provoking criticism and debate in Australia. The West Australian Opera has said it will not stage the opera in order to comply with a sponsorship deal with Healthway, a state health agency, The Associated Press reported.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Art is doomed to death when tobacco control has a say. But they take the money first.

    • DP says:

      Dear Carol

      It does raise the question: what on earth is a state ‘health agency’ doing sponsoring opera?

      Splashing taxpayers’ money on minorty cultural pursuits seems a bit ultra vires. I dare say the management get a few free tickets too. If so, utterly corrupt.


  7. carol2000 says:

    Green Bay public housing goes smoke-free
    Scott Cooper Williams, Press-Gazette Media 6:30 a.m. CDT October 9, 2014
    Residents of Mason Manor are breathing a little easier now that the Green Bay public housing complex has banned smoking.

    One advocate said the 154-unit apartment complex could be among Wisconsin’s largest public housing properties to go smoke-free.

  8. beobrigitte says:

    The Russians must have acted as soon as they could see the smoking ban coming.
    Moscow hosted the III Congress of the Movement for Rights smokers
    Published May 19, 2014

    Don’t we all wish we had done the same rather than to sit back and allow this misery to be inflicted upon us?
    I agree partly with
    I think you’re probably right about the reason why the Russians are resisting. In fact I doubt they’ve had even 20 years of anti-smoker indoctrination.
    This most certainly is true! The Russians had been living for a long time under state control – and I think they immediately recognised another one coming!

    Harley also mentioned in his comment yesterday that the internet provides a wealth of information about the ‘anti-tabachnikovs’; this information wasn’t there when American Joe Averages were steamrollered with this smoking ban, but the American opponents provided the first.

    And by the time the smoking ban hit us, the 40 years of subtle daily infusion of ‘anti-tabachnikov’ ideology received, showed it’s effect. Since there was no particular threat to our existence (no-one ended up in an arctic circle mine for voicing an opinion) we simply did not want to recognise what was coming. The Russians are more primed to live around state control.
    Perhaps tobacco control did bank on that and rushed in.

    Perhaps it is time to also put aside what we were indoctrinated with. We ALL have one thing in common: we do NOT want smoking bans! And we can help each other out along the way to fight them. And, perhaps, get to know each other better, too!

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