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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tobacco firms to be hit by Russia smoking ban

Russia is set to bring in tough new tobacco rules could see shock images on cigarette packets and smoking banned in some public places.

The Russian Federation is the world's second largest market for tobacco products after China.

According to the World Health Association around two out five - 39% - of Russia's 143m people are habitual smokers.

This compares with 28% of people in China and 27% in the U.S.A.

Russia's Deputy Health Minister Sergei Velmiakin announced that the government would submit a law banning smoking in public places such as restaurants by the start of November .

The government also unveiled a series of graphic pictures, including of a gangrenous foot and a still-born baby, that will be printed on cigarette packets.

"Global experience shows that shocking pictures on cigarette packs significantly influenced changes in perception of smoking by smokers themselves," the country's health ministry said.

Russia loses 1.5tr roubles (£29.3bn) a year, or 2.5% of gross domestic product, because of premature deaths caused by smoking, Velmiaikin said.

The legal changes come despite fierce opposition from some of the world's largest cigarette makers, including British American Tobacco.

They claim smoking bans or extra taxes will not change Russia's smoking culture but will instead hurt small businesses and encourage smuggling.

Tobacco firms have benefitted from growing demand for their products in emerging markets, as incomes rise and laxer health regulations make it easier to entice smokers than in traditional Western markets.

At 1530 on Tuesday shares in British American Tobacco were off 2.2% at 3,260.50p.

Japan Tobacco, which lobbied against the changes, dropped 4% on Tuesday following the announcement.


  1. Graphical content on cigarette packaging won't be that much effective, i don't think that people will stop buying them because of these images but smoking ban is good and can be helpful.

  2. You are saying that Russia is the world's second largest market for tobacco products and the foolish government is putting ban on smoking rather than imposing ban on tobacco production.

  3. Lets see how these tobacco companies deal with this issue, i am pretty much sure their sales will go down because of smoking bans, people will reduce smoking or try to quit.

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