By Tom Degun in Sochi

no smoking_30-10-12October 30 - Sochi 2014 has teamed up with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to launch the "Union of Tobacco-Free Cities" campaign  ahead of the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the Russian city.

Representatives from Sochi, Moscow, St Petersburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk, Arkhangelsk and Novosibirsk have all supported the proposal to create the Union which will become an integral part of the "Tobacco-Free Cities" and "Healthy Cities" initiatives developed by the WHO.

"The Union is tasked with protecting people against the harmful effects of tobacco consumption and second hand smoke," said a Sochi 2014 statement.

"It will also serve as a forum where representatives of Russia's regions can discuss the tobacco control initiatives."

The Winter Games in Sochi will be the 12th edition of the event to be tobacco-free and will protect over 155,000 athletes, sports delegation representatives and volunteers against second hand smoke every day, it is claimed.

Sochi 2014 is looking to demonstrate the results of its work to promote healthy living, sport and physical activity with its plans supported by the Mayor of Sochi Anatoly Pakhomov.

The goal of the Union is to create a tobacco-free environment at local and regional levels and create models which can then be used across the whole country.

Sochi 2014_no_smoking_signSochi launched a special campaign in April this year to encourage people to stop smoking before the city holds the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics

It will take charge of promoting legislative and administrative regulations, enabling cities to rid themselves of tobacco smoke and hopefully motivate other Russian cities to get involved in the creation of a healthier environment.

The launch of the project comes as Sochi prepares to host the 2012 Peace and Sport International Forum this week, which will bring together hundreds of guests and delegates from more than 90 countries.

Hosted for the first time outside of Monaco, heads of states, International Olympic Committee (IOC) members and political decision-makers will be in attendance.

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