Monday, June 03, 2013

Russia imposes smoking ban

Congratulations to Russian authorities for taking this first step to improve the health of their people. Second-hand smoke causes the same problems as direct smoking.

Effective this past Saturday, June 1st, Russian smokers are not allowed to light-up in places such as airports, railway stations and bus stops. Smoking is now banned in public transport, schools, healthcare and sports venues, government offices, elevators and apartment complexes. 

Smoking is still temporarily allowed in pubs, cafes and restaurants, trains, ships, hotels and market places. The ban will be imposed in these areas next year on July 1, 2014.

The cost of a pack of cigarettes will increase to $2 from the current $1. (at these prices it's no wonder that almost half the Russian population smokes).

Russia ranks 172 in the Geobase world ranking for life expectancy as compared to Canada,  ranked 13, France  ranked 14 and the U.S. ranked number 53. 

Ten years ago I met several patients on the waiting list for a lung transplant, all suffering from COPD and carrying oxygen tanks. To this day I still vividly remember one patient sadly saying to me "Why did I ever smoke?" 

Not only does smoking cause lung disease that can only be cured by a lung transplant, it also can cause coronary heart disease, lung cancer, kidney disease and high blood pressure. All smokers are at risk for more than two dozen diseases and conditions and the average smoker will die about 8 years earlier than a similar non-smoker. About half of all smokers will die from smoking, most before their 70th birthday after years of sickness and reduced life style.

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