No Smoking in St. Petersburg Restaurants
November 2014
There have been many changes recently regarding the laws around smoking and tobacco products in Russia.  The most obvious for guests of Russia and St. Petersburg is that they will notice that all restaurants are smoke free.  Historically this was something of an issue for those guests that did not want to be around smoke because virtually all dining establishments had at least some sort of smoking section and many more allowed smoking in the entire area of the restaurant.  

This has created some controversy as to the rights smokers feel they have while others feel that they can now come to restaurants and dine with their families without concern for their health.  As winter approaches there seems to be more ill feelings from smokers about having to step outside.  Regardless of individual positions on smoking I have found that it is much more comfortable for those I guide to be find comfortable places to dine.   This includes both the smokers and non-smoking people.  Historically even smokers would comment about how smoky certain establishments were and that it was not very comfortable to dine in those environments.  As most visitors come to St. Petersburg in the summer they do not mind having to step outside should they desire to smoke.

Other laws that are not so obvious to visitors are that tobacco products can no longer be displayed for sale.  Only the words tobacco age 18 and older can be displayed.  If a person wants to purchase a tobacco product they need to ask the attendant if they have a certain brand and the attendant will tell them if they have it or not and the cost.  I understand that there are other facets to the new laws around smoking and it will be interesting to see how they develop over time.  I will certainly keep you posted!