March 19, 2011 - Ukraine's long tradition of allowing the sale of beer and other low-alcohol beverages, as well as cigarettes, from most of the city's 10,000 small kiosks may be coming to an end on April 1. The Kyiv (or Kiev is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine) city council adopted a sales ban over the objections of owners of small kiosks. The ban is expected to help keep these products away from children. (December 17, 2010 - Ukraine - draft law introduced to ban the sale of tobacco and alcoholic beverages in kiosks..)
Despite resistance from affected businesses, Kyiv on April 1 is banning alcohol and tobacco sales from small street kiosks. While many praise the initiative as helpful in improving public health, businesses appear set to challenge the legality of the move. The decision, adopted by the Kyiv city council on Dec. 23, specifically bans alcohol and tobacco sales in street kiosks that occupy less than 40 square meters – covering most of more than 10,000 such small business establishments operating in the city. The measure also forbids the sale of alcohol (except beer in plastic bottles) and tobacco during mass gatherings.
Businessman Mykola Omelchuk says his small beer shop is under threat. “We have enough space, more than 20 square meters, so customers can come in and even take a seat. We sell quality beer and many customers appreciate the product,” Omelchuk said.
However, city council members say they are constantly hearing complaints from concerned Kyivans – especially parents -- about the easy availability of tobacco and alcohol on the streets. While street sales of hard alcohol were banned many years ago, the measure would broaden the alcohol ban to include beer and low-alcohol beverages as well.
Ukraine is also among the world’s heaviest-smoking countries; more than 27 percent of adults smoking, according to WHO. Making Ukraine’s cheap cigarettes more expensive, through higher taxes, and out of easy reach of young people are keys to curbing the addiction that prematurely kills 100,000 Ukrainians every year.
The big four tobacco companies — Philip Morris, BAT, JTI, and Imperial — control 99 percent of the Ukrainian cigarette market. (Ukraine - lost cigarettes flooding Europe..;
Tobacco Taxes in Ukraine
Based on: Economics of Tobacco Taxation in Ukraine. Hana Zarubova Ross, Samina Shariff, Anna Gilmore. 2008.
Reference: Kyiv moves to ban sales of alcohol, cigarettes in kiosks, Svitlana Tuchynska (firstname.lastname@example.org), kyivpost.com, 3/18/2011.
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