Medvedev Vows Strict Antismoking Bill Will Pass

October 16, 2012 / Wall Street Journal / — Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev threw down the gauntlet against Big Tobacco Tuesday, vowing that strict antismoking legislation before the government will pass and calling the effort “just the beginning.”

“We cannot let tobacco companies make money off our children’s health and make them lifelong smokers any longer. That is amoral,” Mr. Medvedev said in a video blog posted on his website.

“Unfortunately, the government didn’t consider the risks of foreign tobacco investment into the Russian economy in the 1990s,” he said of the four tobacco corporations that dominate 90% of the Russian market, which is the second largest by volume in the world.

Calling the cost to public health “frightening,” Mr. Medvedev said the antismoking measures being discussed were absolutely necessary.

“Every year (the population of) a large city disappears from the map due to tobacco use,” he said. “I am convinced that this bill is in the interest of the people of our country.”

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