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  Friday, September 20, 2019
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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday which
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday which will see the country join the World Health Organization's anti-smoking convention, a Kremlin spokesman said.

Under the convention, which was ratified by Russia's lower house of parliament earlier this month, a tobacco advertising ban should be implemented within five years, and at least 30% of tobacco packets should contain a health warning.

The signatories to the convention are also encouraged to raise taxes for tobacco producers, eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products, ban tobacco sales to and by minors, and promote agricultural diversification and alternative livelihoods for tobacco producers.

The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which was adopted in 2003 and signed by more than 150 countries, aims to help national governments curb smoking that kills 5 million people across the world annually.

The death toll from smoking-related diseases could increase up to 10 million people a year by 2020, according to the World Health Organization forecasts.

In recent years, tobacco producers have shifted their focus to the developing world, where about 70% of all tobacco products are now sold.

The ratio of smokers and non-smokers in Russia is twice as high as that of Western Europe, and 400-500,000 people die of smoking-related diseases in the country every year.

The low cost of cigarettes in Russia is a major contributing factor to the trend.

The head of the State Duma health committee, Olga Borzova, earlier said Russia could pass a national anti-smoking strategy this year which would comply with the WHO convention requirements.

In a report on global tobacco control efforts in February, the WHO urged greater commitment from countries in implementing key tobacco control measures, saying among other things that national governments collect 500 times more money in tobacco taxes each year than they spend on anti-tobacco advertising.


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