Excise policies set to welcome contraband cigarettes to Russia

| January 22, 2013

Russia is due to become a net importer of illicit cigarettes rather than a net exporter, according to a story in Russia Beyond The Headlines, an abridged version of a report by Roman Ovchinnikov published in Kommersant-Dengi magazine.

A draft law, ‘On Protection of Public Health from the Effects of Tobacco Consumption’, which is currently making its way through Russia’s parliament, will usher in public-places tobacco smoking bans, prohibit the sale of cigarettes at small outlets and ban smoking scenes from new Russian films, the story said.

But the main weapon in the fight against smoking will be excise tax. It is said to be rising on average by 20-30 per cent a year, but Health Minister, Veronika Skvortsova, says that that is not enough.

Russia is currently regarded as a source of contraband cigarettes, the story said, though that could change.

“We estimate that, as long as the cost of cigarettes remains less than 10 per cent of the average family budget, smuggling will not be an issue,” Vadim Zhelnin, head of the tobacco association, Tabakprom, was quoted as saying. “But as soon as that threshold is crossed, the Chinese will be knocking at the door.”

The Russia Behind The Headlines story is at: http://rbth.ru/society/2013/01/21/new_anti-smoking_bill_may_attract_chinas_illicit_cigarette_trade_22065.html

Category: Breaking News

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