Russia's health ministry plans to ban sale of cigarettes to those born 2014 and later

The strict proposal would make Russia the first country to implement such a strategy to stub out smoking.
The strict proposal would make Russia the first country to implement such a strategy to stub out smoking.PHOTO: REUTERS

If Russia's health ministry had its way, those born in 2014 or later in the country will not be allowed to buy cigarettes even after they grow up.

The strict proposal would make Russia the first country to implement such a strategy to stub out smoking.

"This goal is absolutely ideologically correct," said Mr Nikolai Gerasimenko, a member of the Russian parliament's health committee, according to a report by The Times on Tuesday (Jan 10).

However, he added that he was unsure if such a ban could be enforced.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is known to be a non-smoker and a fitness advocate.

The Times quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov as saying that the proposed ban would "require serious discussion" and consultation with other ministries.

Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, the BBC said in a report on Wednesday (Jan 11).

Nearly 400,000 Russians die of smoking-related diseases yearly, but Russia's Tass news agency has said the number of smokers in the country's population has fallen from 41 per cent to 31 per cent in the past decade, reported The Daily Mail on Tuesday.

Russia has been relatively slow on the uptake of anti-smoking legislation, introducing public restrictions only in 2013, The Independent said in a report on Tuesday.

Places where smoking is illegal in Russia include airports, buses and commuter trains, workplaces and housing block stairwells, said the BBC.