Advocates for a ban on smoking in public places took to the streets on the day to show support, as Russia’s parliament considered the proposal.
If passed, from 2015 smoking will be outlawed in public places indoors and outdoors – such as playgrounds and beaches.
Taxes on tobacco will also go up.
Russia is the world’s second largest tobacco market.
The move could lead to less people smoking said Moscow resident Olga: “Maybe people will start thinking about it. Maybe it will prompt people to quit that bad habit.”
Provisions for smokers need to be thought out, according to Lena, who also lives in Moscow.
“In general I agree with it, but to ban smoking in public spaces, you have to provide an alternative. For instance, creating smoking booths,” she said.
Half a million people in Russia die every year from smoking-related illnesses – and there is hope the law will decrease this figure and increase life expectancy.
“You know, as the experience of all of the civilised countries shows, the experience of Europe, when the laws are passed and start to work, life changes for the better,” said Duma deputy Dmitry Nosov.
The value of Russia’s tobacco market was estimated at over seventeen billion euros in 2011 (Euromonitor International), and a number of tobacco companies are pushing for less strict legislation.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev last month launched an anti-smoking campaign via a video blog.