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Cigarettes in Russia to cost more
July 23, 2013, 11:04 am

[Getty Images]

Russian smokers account for 35 per cent of the country’s population [Getty Images]

Russia’s Health Ministry wants to amend the country’s anti-smoking ban by further increasing the excise duty on cigarettes.

The anti-smoking ban was introduced in June this year.

It was earlier stipulated that the taxes would grow steadily, amounting to 960 rubles ($30) per 1,000 cigarettes plus nine per cent of the retail price.

However, the ministry wants to drive the excise tax up to 2,050 rubles ($64) and 10 per cent of the retail cost.

The sharp increase in excise tax will inevitably lead to the increase in retail price, a smoker will have to pay at least $3.50 for a pack of cigarettes in 2015 against the current $1.30.

The amendments are part of Russia’s commitment to decrease the share of its smoking population.

In June, Russia introduced an anti-smoking ban prohibiting smoking in public places, including governmental buildings, bus stops, train stations and airports.

A wider ban will come into force in June next year when smoking will be banned in cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs.

The Russian State Duma is yet to introduce fines for those breaking the law, but when enacted the fines are expected to be very high.

Kirill Danishevsky, co-chair of the Russian anti-tobacco coalition told The BRICS Post that the bar should be set high, following the positive example of fines for ignoring pedestrians on zebra crossings.

“When the fine for vehicles not stopping to allow pedestrians on zebra crossings was 100 rubles ($3.50), it was not efficient, even policemen had no incentive to punish those breaking driving rules. Two years ago the fine increased tenfold and today pedestrians have no problem crossing the streets,” Danishevsky said.

Fines for breaking the smoking ban are expected to start from at least $30.

Russian smokers account for 35 per cent of the country’s 143 million strong population.

By Daria Chernyshova in Moscow, Russia for The BRICS POST, with inputs from Agencies