Putin signs broad antitobacco bill

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed measures aimed at curbing demand in the world’s second-largest cigarette market, the Kremlin said.

Effective June 1, the law bans smoking in public areas including workplaces, stairwells of apartment buildings, and near schools and hospitals. It also sets minimum prices for cigarettes and allows for higher excise taxes.

The ban on public smoking will be extended to restaurants, hotels, and train stations from June 1, 2014, and sales will be banned in street kiosks not big enough for clients to enter.


Putin, who returned to the Kremlin last year for a third term as president, is limiting sales and advertising of alcohol and tobacco in the biggest public health initiative since Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s failed campaign in the late 1980s. Smoking and drinking kill about 900,000 people a year in Russia, according to official estimates.

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‘‘There are some concerns that the tobacco lobby will be able to win concessions to make the process less transparent and more drawn out,’’ said Julia Tsepliaeva, head of research at BNP Paribas in Moscow. ‘‘On excise taxes, in particular, they’ll look to reach an agreement.’’

Tobacco companies have already won some compromises. The government had originally proposed outlawing all tobacco advertising and sponsorship as well as kiosk sales immediately, with bans on trade in small retail outlets and smoking in public places taking effect Jan. 1, 2015.

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