Health officials in Russia are proposing a lifetime ban on cigarettes for anyone born in 2015 or after, but will let the current generation of smokers continue the habit.
The proposal from the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation is circling among top government officials and politicians who are considering the radical policy. If implemented, the law would cut off cigarette access to youth and increase taxes and public bans on cigarettes for current smokers. Workers who take smoke breaks will have to work longer hours each day under the proposal and electronic cigarettes would face a regulatory onslaught, reports The New York Times.
Roughly 300,000 to 400,000 people die of tobacco related diseases every year in Russia.
“This goal is absolutely ideologically correct,” Nikolai Gerasimenko, a member of the country’s health committee said, according to The Times.
The smoking rate in Russia is one of the highest in the world, with roughly 33 percent of the adult population regularly using cigarettes. In some parts of the country cigarettes cost less than the equivalent of $1.
Russia already has very restrictive policies in place on smokers, most enacted under President Vladimir Putin in 2013. Putin banned smoking in most public places, workplaces, public transit and airports. Putin also instituted higher taxes on tobacco products throughout the country.
The country has seen moderate success, at least at reducing the number of youths who start smoking. In 2004 roughly 25.4 percent of youths in Russia smoked, but that number fell to 9.3 percent by 2015.
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