MOSCOW – Russia is considering banning the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2015 as part of a long-term plan to eradicate smoking in the country in an unconventional approach.

Russian health ministry has chalked out a stringent plan to completely phase out tobacco and president Vladimir Putin is reportedly bolstering the proposal.

Although Russia was soft on smokers for a long period of time but restrictions were put in place in 2013 and the Putin administration has ramped up efforts to taper off tobacco use.

Spokesperson for Russian parliament ‘Kremlin’ , Dmitri Peskov said the proposed ban would require serious deliberations but maintained it was a genuine aspiration.

In 2015 it was reported that the Russian parliament was considering banning all women under the age of 40 from buying cigarettes.

The latest proposal put forth on Monday suggested a blanket ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2015, even when they reach the current legal smoking age of 18.

As part of the ‘Antitobacco Concept signed by’ Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova, the plan outlines government efforts to curb smoking from 2017 to 2022 but it has yet to be approved by the government and its agencies.

Other proposals in the document include: banning smoking in cars in the presence of children; allowing employers to make employees work additional time to make up for cigarette breaks; and placing health warnings on individual cigarettes.

But political observers and social scientists are raising concerns regarding the probable ban hinting at establishment of an alternate black market for unlicensed cigarettes that could spark health issues as well.

According to Russian news agency Itar-Tass, the number of smokers dropped by ten per cent in 2016 and currently the percentage hovers around 31 percent of the total population