Search

 

Cablegate: Russian Parliament Passes Tobacco Control Convention

VZCZCXRO5795
RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHMO #1135/01 1141423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231423Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7735
INFO RUEHVK/AMCONSUL VLADIVOSTOK 2793
RUEHYG/AMCONSUL YEKATERINBURG 3136
RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 5238

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 001135

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

USAID FOR GH, E&E
HHS FOR OGHA
USDA FAS FOR OGA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO SCUL PREL SOCI RS
SUBJECT: RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES TOBACCO CONTROL CONVENTION

REFS: A. 07 Moscow 5630
B. 07 Moscow 5522
C. 08 Moscow 854
D. 07 Moscow 1834
E. 07 Moscow 1434

MOSCOW 00001135 001.2 OF 002


THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. PLEASE PROTECT
ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a significant step forward for anti-smoking
regulation, on April 11, the Russian Duma overwhelmingly voted to
ratify the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on
Tobacco Control (FCTC). Observers expect the FCTC will be quickly
approved by the Federation Council and signed by the President.
Over the next three to five years, the Duma will have to consider
several additional pieces of tobacco control legislation to come
into compliance with the FCTC, including measures to enlarge
cigarette package warnings, increase cigarette prices and excise
taxes, and limit tobacco advertising and smoking in public places.
Tobacco companies are expected to lobby heavily against these new
legislative measures and argue that the convention's tobacco control
provisions are intended to be advisory rather than mandatory.
Nonetheless, the convention's passage raises the hope that in a few
years time, the large cohorts of Russian smokers will begin
declining, helping to reverse the country's demographics crisis.
END SUMMARY.

---------------------------------------
Russia Coming Into Compliance With FCTC
---------------------------------------

2. (U) On April 11, the Duma ratified the FCTC by a vote of 447 to
1. The Cabinet had approved it in January and sent it to the Duma
as a draft law in February. (While Russia actively participated in
the original development and negotiations of the FCTC in 2003 at the
WHO, it had never signed or ratified the document.) Once approved
by the Federation Council and signed by the President, the FCTC will
enter into force for Russia 90 days after the ratification documents
are submitted to the WHO.

3. (U) By its terms, the FCTC contemplates several changes to
domestic tobacco control legislation over a three to five year
period after ratification. These measures include:

-- increasing the size of the warning label on cigarette packs to a
minimum of 30 percent of the surface area within three years;

-- introducing a complete ban on tobacco advertisement within five
years;

-- limiting smoking in public places and facilities;

-- banning cigarette sales in kiosks;

-- increasing cigarette excise taxes;

-- decreasing tar and nicotine levels in cigarettes;

-- creating non-smoking areas in bars and restaurants;

-- increasing public health communication on the health risks of
smoking and the provision of treatment to nicotine addicts.

-- banning the use of terms such as "light" or "super- light" to
describe cigarettes; and

-- prohibiting tobacco companies from sponsoring various public
events.

4. (U) Even prior to ratifying the FCTC, the Duma began making some
of the necessary changes to Russian law, which already prohibits
tobacco advertisements on radio, TV and on outdoor signs and
billboards. In early April, the Duma approved the first reading of
a draft law to prohibit tobacco advertisements on all forms of
transportation, including in the Metro, at train and bus stations,
and in airports. The Duma held an initial hearing on April 21 to
discuss legislative changes needed to implement the FCTC, and the
Duma Health Committee has established a 30-member expert council to
work on preparing draft implementing legislation. Anti-tobacco
advocates from the All-Russia Cancer Center have also established a
new NGO called "Healthy Society," which is chaired by Duma Deputy
Nikolay Gerasimenko, to assist in the FCTC's implementation.

MOSCOW 00001135 002.2 OF 002


Gerasimenko is deputy head of the Duma Health Care Committee and a
long-time anti-smoking crusader within the Duma. He will receive an
award for his achievements in fighting smoking at the Eastern
European Anti-Tobacco Forum in Warsaw April 22.

-----------------------------------------
Important Step on Road to Tobacco Control
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Health and demographic experts applaud the Duma's
ratification of the FCTC, but worry that the tobacco industry will
raise obstacles and delay the convention's implementation. Kirill
Danishevskiy, a senior health consultant with the Open Health
Institute and head of the Russian Society of Evidence-Based
Medicine, expects that some lobbyists and lawmakers will argue that
the FCTC is a non-binding international agreement whose provisions
are only meant to be advisory, rather than mandatory. Andrey Demin,
a prominent public health advocate and head of the Russian
Association of Public Health, agrees that some health officials and
policy makers will view the FCTC as an "elastic" document. He also
expects the big tobacco companies will lobby heavily to slow down
the legislative process.

6. (U) International tobacco industry representatives have publicly
stated that they are ready to observe the FCTC, but they hope that
lawmakers will consider the "specifics of market regulation" in
Russia as they adopt legislation to implement the FCTC. Philip
Morris issued a statement welcoming FCTC ratification as "an
important step" in regulating the tobacco industry, but emphasized
the "framework" nature of the convention, which allows member states
to be guided by national "constitutional principles," a likely
indication that the company will lobby for watered-down restrictions
on advertising. British American Tobacco's Russia representative
pointed out that tobacco is a legal product, and Germany and Japan
have not banned outdoor advertisement, despite being members of the
FCTC. (Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, and Japan
International Tobacco, which distributes RJ Reynolds' brands
internationally, collectively control over 80 percent of the Russian
cigarette market.) Some observers have also noted that the
hospitality sector will join with the tobacco lobby to oppose
smoking bans or the establishment of smoke-free zones in hotels,
bars and restaurants, arguing that these businesses would see a loss
of income.

7. (U) Some 65 percent of Russian men and 30 percent of women smoke,
according to estimates from the Federal Surveillance Service for
Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being (Rospotrebnadzor).
Rospotrebnadzor also estimates that at least 25 percent of 15-19
year olds smoke (Ref A), though a recent survey conducted in Moscow
revealed that 70 percent of Russian teenagers between the ages of 13
and 18 consider themselves to be smokers. According to various
estimates from health and demographic experts, 330,000 to 500,000
deaths every year are attributable to the direct or indirect
consequences of smoking, making it one of the two main drivers of
Russia's high mortality, along with heavy drinking of vodka and
other spirits (Refs B-E).

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) Duma ratification of the FCTC is a major step forward in
the years-long effort to implement meaningful anti-smoking
regulation in Russia. As further legislation is introduced to
implement the FCTC in the next three to five years, we believe
high-level political will to improve mortality figures and reverse
the demographics crisis (Refs C, D) will ultimately overcome intense
lobbying from cigarette companies. Once appropriate implementing
legislation is enacted, and if it is effectively enforced, future
generations of Russians can look forward to smoking less and
breathing less second-hand smoke.

BURNS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: