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Draft New Anti-Tobacco Law

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Smoke-free future

The Ministry of Health has prepared a smoking cessation concept from 2017 to 2022. As stated in the document, a copy of which is at the disposal of RBC, the project was sent for approval to 18 departments, including the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After that, the concept should be approved by the government. While the document was not seen in the cabinet, a source in the White House apparatus told RBC.

The concept was not officially published, but the authenticity of the RBC document was confirmed by Oleg Salagai, spokesman for the Minister of Health, who is one of the authors: his signature is under the project.

The plan of the Ministry of Health was developed in accordance with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which entered into force in 2005 at the initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO). The concept should replace the previous version of the document, which was valid in 2010-2015, explained to RBC in the press service of the department.

The text emphasizes that the measures that the Ministry of Health has already taken have led to a decrease in the percentage of smokers from 39% of the adult population of Russia in 2009 to 33% in 2016. This level is still catastrophically high, according to the ministry, therefore the goal of the concept is to achieve a reduction to 25% by 2022. Because of smoking, men lose an average of nine years of life, and women - five and a half years. The lost profit of GDP is 2%.

Key bans

In addition, the Ministry of Health wants to increase the number of places where you can not smoke. The ban applies to communal apartments, all types of public transport, stops and the surrounding area within a radius of three meters. The ban will include the same zone at the entrances to the buildings of shopping centers, underground and ground crossings, and even personal transport if children are in it. In addition, the smoker will be required to extinguish the cigarette in the presence of any person who objects to smoking.

The toughening will affect sellers and consumers of electronic cigarettes and other “non-drug electronic nicotine delivery vehicles”.

Excise taxes and packaging

The concept will directly affect manufacturers. In 2016, the minimum excise rate on cigarettes was 1,680 rubles. for 1 thousand pcs. This is 33.6 rubles. for one pack. In 2017, excise taxes increased to 1930 rubles. for 1 thousand pcs. Now, 38.6 rubles per pack. This is slightly more than 40% of the retail price of products. The excise tax recommended by WHO should be 70% of the price, and the Ministry of Health intends to strive for such an indicator.

Another landmark for the Ministry of Health is the average excise tax in European countries. There it is $ 2.38, or 185 rubles., Per pack. According to the department’s estimates, if the Russian figures are brought to the average European, the budget will receive an additional 900 billion rubles. compared with the fees of 2015, and 2 million people will be saved from premature death.

In 2018, the excise tax is planned to be increased to 3 thousand rubles. for 1 thousand units, in 2020 - up to 4.4 thousand. Since 2022, indexation outstripping inflation should be annual.

In 2017, the Ministry of Health also planned to introduce a ten percent tax on the retail sale of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes. Starting in 2018, tobacco companies will have to pay an environmental tax. According to the Ministry of Health, cigarettes are the most common type of waste, and therefore harm the environment.

The Ministry of Health plans to reform the sphere of consumer appeal of tobacco products. The agency is going to ban the use in cigarettes of additives with the taste of food products and enhancing the addictive effect, and all packaging should be standardized.

Packs of cigarettes will not be allowed to place trademarks, advertisements or sales promotion information. The packages will be of the same color, indicating only the name of the product printed in the established font.

Information on the dangers of smoking, according to the Ministry of Health, will occupy at least 65% of the main side of the package. Pictures and inscriptions on the dangers of smoking will be placed on the cigarettes themselves.

To store tobacco will be obliged not just in closed boxes, as is happening today, but in marsh-colored crates without additional inscriptions and highlights.

Company bans

In addition to increased excise taxes, tobacco companies are waiting for enhanced control over their activities. They will be banned from partnering with government agencies. They will have to provide information on the costs of marketing expenses, lobbying, charitable contributions, etc. For failure to provide information will impose sanctions.

Representatives of tobacco companies are also not allowed to participate in any health committees.

Many of the proposals of this concept are too radical and do not take into account the interests of consumers and the state, says British American Tobacco Russia Director for Corporate Affairs Yana Guskova. In her opinion, including unjustified restrictions for electronic cigarettes. “If guided by the interests of consumers and concern for health, the state should stimulate the development of products with a reduced risk to health, and not prohibit it,” she emphasized.

Existing Russian law already contains a large number of prohibitions regarding the production, labeling and trafficking of tobacco products, said Sergey Kiselyov, JTI Vice President for Communications in Russia, in a conversation with RBC. “Against this background, an attempt to reduce tobacco consumption only through the introduction of new stringent restrictions, without analyzing the effectiveness of existing measures and adjusting them, will not lead to the expected result, but only undermine the functioning of the legal industry, accelerate the substitution of legal products with cheaper counterparts from the shadow market and as a result, it will undermine the stability of tax deductions to the budget, ”he concluded.

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