August 4, 2010 - British American Tobacco Russia (BATR), the largest cigarette producer in Russia, has suggested introducing a system of licensing for the sale of tobacco products, rather than face a ban on sales from kiosks and by street vendors, according to an RIA (Russian Information Agency) Novosti story.
The Russian government has been pushing to remove tobacco sales from kiosks and street vendors as a means of restricting the sale of tobacco products to minors.
Under its proposals, tobacco products would be sold only in large supermarkets. Small businesses, in particular kiosks, sell some 40% of tobacco in Russia.
Background: Moscow's top doctor said on March 15, 2010 smoking was leading to a "national catastrophe." Dr. Leonid Lazebnik painted a grim picture of the harm that tobacco was causing Russians, telling a round table that 65 percent of men and 30 percent of women have smoked at some time in their lives. In contrast, Lazebnik said, the figures in the mid-1980s were 48 percent of men and 5 percent of women.A BATR spokesperson, Alexander Lyuty said if licensing would be in effect, then those kiosks and street vendors would have to register with the Tabakprom Association, of which BATR is a member. He said that in order for small businesses to sell tobacco, the distributors of tobacco products, for example BATR, would see to it that companies complied with the legal sales of tobacco. If the business sells cigarettes to minors, then BATR would receive a heavy fine and then revoke the business's license to sell cigarettes in the future.
He said 24.6 percent of Muscovites (a native or resident of Moscow )are smokers. "But the scariest thing of all is our future," Lazebnik said. "In Moscow, 73 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls smoke. I see this as a national catastrophe."
Russsia - 73 percent of boys and 65 percent of girls smoke...
Russia's population is decreasing at a loss of about 700,000 to 800,000 citizens each year dying. Russia has a very high death rate of 15 deaths per 1000 people per year. This is far higher than the world's average death rate of just under 9. (Russia's Population Set to Decline From 143 Million Today to 111 Million in 2050)
Lyuty said if the government removes the right for kiosks to sell tobacco, "part of the market would fall into uncontrollable hands" with people selling tobacco on the streets and on the black market.
Let's no forget: Principle 1: There is a fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry’s interests and public health policy interests. ( Guidelines for implementation of Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC))
Reference: Russian tobacco producer pushes for licensing versus sales bans, FINANCIAL, 8/4/2010.
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