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Russian parliament ratifies anti-smoking global convention
Russia's lower house of parliament ratified on Friday a global convention against smoking, which the World Health Organization says kills 5 million people across the world annually.
The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is designed to make it easier for national governments to implement tobacco controls, including a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship. Such steps could prevent millions of people from picking up the smoking habit.
"By 2030, tobacco smoking will become one of the strongest factors leading to early deaths," Deputy Health Minister Yury Voronin said speaking at a State Duma session before the ratification.
Voronin urged measures to curb smoking and cited WHO forecasts that by 2020, 10 million people a year could die of smoking-related diseases.
The head of the State Duma healthcare committee said the ratio of smokers and non-smokers in Russia is twice as high as that in Western Europe, and 400-500,000 people die of smoking-related diseases in the country every year.
Olga Borzova earlier said Russia could pass a national strategy against smoking, which would comply with the WHO convention requirements, this year.
Under the convention, tobacco advertising should be banned completely within five years from its ratification, and heath warnings should occupy at least 30% of cigarette packaging within three years.
Under the FCTC, countries are also encouraged to raise taxes on 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.