Smoking Ban News from Russia

Comment today from Dmitry Kosyrev in Russia:

…we’ve got news here, in Russia. In March there was an annual report of the Human Rights commissioner to the President. The end of the chapter 2.5 says that our anti-smoking law is a clear breach of human rights and should be reviewed and amended. Something to cheer us all up, right?

I waited for the officilal English translation to find its way to the Ombudsman’s English website, there is still none, thought it’s very much there in Russian. So maybe you want to see my very unofficilal and not-so-British translation of that piece…
So this is how it looks –

From the 2016 Report of the Russian Ombudsman for Human Rights to the President of Russia, ch. 2.5.

The ability to reach a public consensus is the basic indication of a healthy nation. The ongoing fight for a healthy way of life has demonstrated that we are having problems with being a healthy nation.

The harm of smoking does not require discussion. But the 2014 law “On safeguarding of public health from the effects of environmental tobacco smoke and the consequences of tobacco consumption” had from the very start leaned exclusively towards limitations of rights of the smoking citizens. According to various estimates, there are more than 30 million of such citizens in Russia, constituting a significant part of adult population. Their elementary rights have not been taken into account at the drafting of that law. As a result, the law does not contain the minimal necessary range of rights of smokers, such as would not be encroaching on the rights of non-smokers.

The result is the predictable discontent of both smokers and non-smokers, since the law, being based on bans and limitations, irritates one group of population and does not meet expectations of the other group.

As a reaction to the “excesses” of the anti-smoking law the public discussion has been started on the need of rebalancing the situation, on correcting the basic bans that irritate the smoking citizens and softening the potential factors of social discontent.

In the year 2015 the smoking community has been actively discussing the following proposals:

= Designation of the special places for smoking in the airports, as well as the smoking carriages on the trains (the idea being supported by the Russian Airports Associations and the Railways of Russia Corporation).

= Amendment of the order of establishing the smoking rules at the workplaces (the Federation of the Independent Trade Unions of Russia promotes the idea of transferring the right of decision on that matter to the joint trilateral committees of employers, employees and the trade unions).

= Loosening the bans on smoking in restaurants and hotels (the Federation of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs is in favor of legislating the smoker’s restaurants and designating special places for smoking in all and any hotels and other such places).

Numerous other well-founded proposals are under discussion.

We deem necessary the reviewing of the results of implementation of the current law and passing of the necessary amendments to it.

The report have been presented to the President on March 25, 2016. The English version will be published on the website . All in all, the document is devastating, notably on the subject of income inequality and taxation and the rest of related subjects.

The ombudsman is a lady, Ella Pamfilova, used to be a minister in the first Russian reformist governments in early 1990-s and a prominent politician afterwards. On March 27 she had been appointed head of national Election Committee, which is a promotion, especially before the September elections to the Parliament.

Asked what chance there was of the law being amended, he replied:

…it’s hard to say. We are having a new Parliament after the September election. We know that the most ugly anti-smoking lobbyists have been disowned by their own parties since bans are very unpopular with the public. But we still do not know the overall picture, like who will be elected, who will vote for or against.

On the brighter side I may say that the general mood has changed. The failure of the bans is obvious, as many people predicted (nobody observes them). The clever ones are scuttling crab-fashion from that topic. The idiots who are still in, are hysterical, demanding new bans. We (the Smoker’s Rights Movement) are slowly inserting the right ideas into the public, so now the public or at least a part of it knows that this is a failed project of an ugly foreign medical lobby (yes, a bit of xenofobia is good for you, especially if it is based on real facts).

All in all we are moderately optimistic, but are ready for a long fight.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had an ombudsman like that in the UK? Can you imagine it? Can you imagine anyone saying that the elementary rights of smokers hadn’t been taken into account in the UK smoking ban?

Nope. I can’t imagine it either.

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15 Responses to Smoking Ban News from Russia

  1. jaxthefirst says:

    Wow! How times have changed. Perhaps the Russian people, having been so severely deprived of the most basic freedoms for so many years until recent decades, are now acutely sensitive of how easy it is for a government to take away those freedoms, if someone doesn’t keep an eye on things; conversely, British people, having taken for granted the freedoms available to them in this “free country” for so many years, have become complacent and lazy about protecting them – with the perhaps inevitable result that successive governments have, little by little, chipped away at them without hardly anyone seeming to notice …

    • Joe L. says:

      The same is true of the U.S., Jax. I’m not sure how much of an impact it had on the U.K., but over here I believe the fear and disorder that was instilled after the events of September 11, 2001 opened the flood gates for people to blindly trust in the beliefs of so-called “experts” and subsequently allow the gradual elimination of their freedoms. Here’s hoping the Russians, who’ve been much farther down this road, can win this battle and set an example worldwide!

    • edith482 says:

      Totally agree. Freedom and even free speech have been eroded in Britain [just think ‘political correctness’} with hardly a whimper of protest.

  2. Lecroix says:

    Reblogged this on Contra la ley "antitabaco".

  3. mikef317 says:

    Two off topic links. Don’t know if anyone else has cited these.

    If you took a large sample of people and measured their bodies (arm and leg length, etc.) you might think many people would have many measurements in common. Apparently the “average” person is a bit more unique.

    On dietary fat and cholesterol. Results of a 30 year old study that contradicted the conventional wisdom were never published. How odd that the study “slipped” through the cracks.

    If I read this correctly, the original author is dead. His wife stored some of the study data in her basement. (!) The information has since been retrieved by the author’s son.

  4. Rose says:

    Germany: tobacco graphic health warnings to finally turn the tide?
    16 Apr,2016

    “In a welcome step forward from the weak text-only ‘smoking can be deadly’ and similar warnings that have thus far graced cigarette packs, Germany is set to introduce graphic health warnings.
    Despite tentative progress in recent years, Germany has historically been one of Europe’s poster children for tobacco control legislative failure.

    That reputation may begin to change from 20 May, when gory pictures of black lungs, dead bodies and other consequences of smoking will be plastered over two thirds of the surface area of cigarette packs, in line with European Union regulations.

    While the news is welcome, much remains to be done: Germany has long languished near the bottom of European countries for its many shortcomings in tobacco control policy and implementation.

    Although some smoke free legislation is in place, lax advertising restrictions have allowed tobacco companies to continue to use advertising billboards in Germany – one of only two European countries which have not yet outlawed such a blatant violation of the FCTC. Even neighbouring Austria, the perennial ‘rogue state’ of European tobacco control, does not allow cigarette billboards.”

    “The introduction of graphic health warnings signals a pivotal moment which it is hoped will be the beginning of serious tobacco control legislation and the inexorable decline of smoking in Germany.”

    “Germany has historically been one of Europe’s poster children for tobacco control legislative failure”

    That’s probably because they’d had prior warning still within living memory, unlike everywhere else in Europe

    The anti-tobacco campaign of The Nazis: a little known aspect of public health In Germany, 1933–45

    Click to access bmj00571-0040.pdf

  5. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Korean study second hand smoke now causes suicidal thoughts in its victims. Google it can’t load the link

  6. Pingback: A Russian Defeat for Tobacco Control | Frank Davis

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