The Russian government has decided to make a clear distinction between traditional and electronic cigarettes. For this, different regulations and taxes will be applied according to different products. Russia joins Great Britain in encouraging smokers to turn to the less harmful e-cigarette.
The announcement was made in the daily newspaper Vedemosti, by the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Denis Manturov. According to him, vaping, which does not involve any combustion, is much less harmful to health than tobacco. It is therefore normal that the e-cigarette should not be considered equivalent to traditional cigarettes.
Since 2014, tobacco has been banned in public spaces in Russia. E-liquids containing nicotine will be banned for minors, however, and vaping will also be prohibited near schools. An increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes has also been proposed. These measures should encourage smokers to turn towards the e-cigarette, which is taxed less and is therefore more accessible.
Russian authorities reconsidering their position
This is a major shift for the Russia government. In 2014, for example, at a WHO anti-smoking summit, the Russian government remained sceptical about the virtues of e-cigarettes. After four years and the publication of multiple favourable e-cigarette articles, particularly in the United Kingdom, the government’s opinion has changed.
The rise of the e-cigarette since the smoking ban in public spaces also changed the situation. While smoking has fallen by 20% in Russia since 2009, the e-cigarette continues to grow. The number of vapers in the country is currently estimated at 4 million.
In 2017, the Russian vaping market was valued at 245 million Euros. The country is also home to 50,000 points of sale, including 2,000 specialty stores. With the prosed new regulations, these numbers are expected to increase in the coming months.