Ukraine’s President Signs Smoke-Free Law

Burning Cigarette

On July 13 Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed strong tobacco-free legislation into law and thus demonstrating essential progress of the country to lessen smoking effects caused by tobacco consumption.

The new law involves a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and discos and also is related to buses and cultural and governmental facilities. The law extends the list of -free places throughout Ukraine, which already comprises health care, educational and sports facilities, other public transport and playgrounds.

Burning Cigarette

Burning cigarette in an ashtray

The new law is considered to lower tobacco consumption in Ukraine and guard all Ukrainians from the serious health risks of passive smoking, which is considered to cause disease and other illnesses. Passive smoking comprises more than 7,000 chemicals, including those that are toxic and 69 that are the reason of cancer disease. Globally, smoking kills more than 600,000 people each year.

Ukraine’s tobacco control movement has gained essential momentum over the past year. In May, President Yanukovych signed a law that forbids the sale, usage and advertising of tobacco products at places where the Euro 2012 soccer tournament takes place. Ukraine is now co-hosting  the Euro 2012 soccer tournament with Poland. The country continues a healthy trend of main sports events around the world being tobacco-free and even absolutely smoke-free.

Earlier this year, Ukraine decreed a national ordinance meaningly prohibiting tobacco advertising and promotion. The law restricts tobacco point-of-sale advertising and sponsorships.  As well it bans “brand-stretching” strategies which the tobacco industry uses to circumvent bans on direct tobacco marketing, such as placing names of a tobacco brand on non-tobacco products.  The law also prohibits tobacco industry methods to get influence, such as investments to political, sports or educational organizations. This law intensifies current bans on tobacco advertising on TV, billboards and most print press.

With about 80 % of Ukrainians maintaining tobacco control moves, these new laws are considered to be both a health and a political win for the country’s policymakers and citizens.  They are big moves to lessening tobacco’s effects in Ukraine, where about ¼ of all rising generation aged 13-15 smoke and nearly 115,000 people die each year from smoking-related diseases.

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