Stop smoking and choose football, says Vladimir Putin
Tuesday, October 02, 2012 | By QuitFullStop Editorial | 3 Comments | Stop Smoking News
Vladimir Putin

It’s day two of Stoptober and Vladimir Putin is set to launch his own smoking cessation revolution by kicking cigarettes and alcohol into touch, albeit for the love of the football and the financial spoils it may bring to an economically unstable Russia.

Putin’s declaration of war on smoking within the period of Stoptober is pure coincidence, his motives revolve around the preparation of the 2018 World Cup, but it’s the thought that counts; he wants the world’s most famous football tournament to improve quality of life for Soviets.

The Russian president has aspirations for the beautiful game to sweep the nation and inspire more young people to be active and depend less on nicotine and alcohol, two vices that have shouldered the blame for a major fall in population since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

When interviewed on Russian television at the weekend, he said: “Once infected by sport they will give up alcohol and tobacco… We have recently been giving more and more attention to sports programs and this is important bearing in mind our demographic programmes.”

Widespread smoking and alcohol abuse as the reason for fewer people in Russia is more than a trending hypothesis, in fact, the Government gave the green light to advertising campaigns and introduced taxes on alcohol and cigarettes to reverse the decline.

After falling from 148.7m to 141.9m between 1991 and 2009, such enforcement of warnings and regulations did produce positive results, with the population growing by 100,000 in 2011.

Putin’s requiem for a healthier Russia is not without its cost, the rallying cry to vilify addictive substances to pave the way for a healthy World Cup environment is expected to carry hidden expenses.

In a recent meeting with FIFA bigwig Sepp Blatter, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko revealed preparations for the tournament would amount to Rbs600bn ($19bn), a fee to be shared 50/50 between the government and private investors.

There’s no doubt that the feel-good factor of global sporting events such as the recent London 2012 Olympics encourages people to choose a healthier lifestyle, but whether the effects are potent enough to drain the desire to stop smoking and drinking excessively requires further input from Putin if he is to take his cause seriously.

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kevin says:

"didn't realise world cup is in russia? does this mean i won't be able to bring back cigarettes at duty free?

on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
michelleB says:

"nice to know the spirit of stoptober is spreading across the world

on Tuesday, October 2, 2012
grant says:

"Thanks for sharing, look forward to reading more about this stop smoking campaign and if it actually makes people quit. I'm trying to give up and hope that i'm not the only one struggling.

on Tuesday, October 2, 2012