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More than a billion dollars to riot police: BSSF launched anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco campaign

The Belarusian Sport Solidarity Foundation (BSSF), which protects the rights of Belarusian athletes, is launching the ##MARATHONFORFREEDOM campaign on Facebook and Instagram, calling on Belarusians to join the team for a healthy lifestyle, go in for sports and give up bad habits, such as smoking and alcohol. The foundation that has already achieved the transfer from Belarus of the 2021 Ice Hockey World Championship, World Modern Pentathlon Championship, the UEFA Futsal Champions League Final, the cancellation of the UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship, and the introduction of IOC personal sanctions against the NOC of Belarus and Alexander Lukashenko personally, has taken up the new campaign in earnest. 
 
“In 2020 the budget of Belarus received more than US$1 billion from excise duties on cigarettes and alcohol. At the same time, about 15.5 thousand people die from smoking-related diseases in Belarus every year. Alcohol kills another 20 thousand people, - said the head of the BSSF, three-time Olympic medalist Aliaksandra Herasimenia. - According to the world population review of 2021, Belarus ranks first in terms of the amount of alcohol consumed. Not the kind of championship we dreamed of! To fight for a "healthy" lifestyle and to "take care" of the population, Lukashenko puts Tabakerkas [Tabakerka - snuff box - tobacco kiosks chain - Transl.] on every corner and even near schools by his decrees. What does he call for and what does he orientate to? What generation is he dreaming of? We call on Belarusians to give up bad habits and join our campaign.” 
“According to the World Health Organization statistics, 48.4% of men and 12.6% of women in Belarus smoke, and the situation with alcohol is even sadder: 64.9% of men and 41.8% of women occasionally drink alcohol,” added the Executive Director of the Fund Aliaksandr Apeikin (Alexander Opeikin). - Every year, the country spends more than US$125 million on the treatment of non-communicable diseases associated with exposure to tobacco smoke, alcohol abuse, and unhealthy diets. At the same time, tobacco companies are in a privileged, economically favourable position: for the sake of factories they redraw city boundaries, reduce tax rates, abolish duties in order to increase production volumes in every possible way, while ordinary Belarusians get sick and die”.
It should be noted that Belarus is one of the main suppliers of contraband cigarettes to Russia and European countries. The share of illegal cigarettes in Russia increased from 0.3% in 2012 to 7% in 2020, according to the results of a survey of the tobacco market conducted by Nielsen. Moreover, over half of the cigarettes on the illegal market as a whole are produced in Belarus, namely 54%. A huge amount of smuggled cigarettes from Belarus goes to Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. 
The start of the campaign was marked by the release of a video by A.Herasimenia. The #MARATHONFORFREEDOM project will include video workouts and streams with athletes who have won many international awards at major sporting events: the Olympic Games, World and European Championships; advice from and consultations with doctors; street tournaments and even workouts.
To take part in the campaign, it is enough to declare on your social networks that you are in a team by posting the main hashtag of the campaign #MARATHONFORFREEDOM, subscribe to the project accounts on Facebook and Instagram, share your activities, results, and mark the Foundation in stories. More members - more support! The number of places on the national team is not limited!

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