Putin wages war on tobacco and alcohol

Russian president enacts law aimed at improving public health as Kremlin battles demographic crisis.

    Russians drink an estimated average of 18 litres of vodka every year and invariably light up a cigarette while doing so, but smoking and drinking is killing almost 900,000 people annually in a country whose population is already in decline.

    President Vladimir Putin is now waging a war on the two vices, with surprising support. A new law banning cigarettes from kiosks and outlawing smoking in public places will take effect on June 1 - next year it will extend to restaurants and bars.

    Alcoholic beverages are also being taxed by an extra 30 percent and drinking in public places is now illegal. But many say they will continue to drink and will rely on counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes instead.

    Al Jazeera's Charlie Angela reports from Moscow.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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