February 26, 2018

Russia May Take A Pro-Vaping Stance

Russia may soon encourage smokers to switch to vaping, and may even implement a tax scheme to make vapes more attractive to smokers than cigarettes.

The news came in an interview with Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov, published in the Moscow-based business paper Vedomosti. Manturov suggested that Russia would deal with vaping products under separate regulations from cigarettes. That would make the country unique among signatories to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). FCTC members are encouraged to restrict or ban e-cigarettes.

“Smokers should switch to ENDS and electronic tobacco heating systems,” Manturov told the paper, adding that vaping is safer. “We suggest making a special law to regulate such devices with obvious restrictions, such as sale ban to minors, no smoking in schools, kindergartens and other similar places, and also we need to introduce administrative responsibility for violation of these restrictions.”

Manturov also suggested that vapes be taxed at a lower rate than tobacco products, to “encourage smokers to switch from conventional tobacco to the new devices, and not the other way round.” The minister’s position makes perfect sense in a country like Russia — which has a massive smoking problem — but is still shocking in its enlightenment. Logic like that is heard almost nowhere else in the world.

In 2016, according to the World Health Organization, 29.9 percent of Russian adults smoke cigarettes, including 48.8 percent of men. That is almost twice as many smokers overall as in the United States and United Kingdom, which both had 15.5 percent smoking rates in 2016.

(Thanks to Legalise Vaping Australia, who grabbed and translated the quotes from the paywalled Vedomosti article.)

Smokers created vaping without any help from the tobacco industry or anti-smoking crusaders, and vapers have the right to keep innovating to help themselves. My goal is to provide clear, honest information about the challenges vaping faces from lawmakers, regulators, and brokers of disinformation. I recently joined the CASAA board, but my opinions aren’t necessarily CASAA’s, and vice versa. You can find me on Twitter @whycherrywhy

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