Russia considers cigarette ban

The laws could wipe-out smoking in one generation...

Russia considers cigarette ban

Dmitri Lovetsky AP/Press Association Images

Russia's health ministry is considering plans to to ban the sale of cigarettes to everyone born after 2014.

The country has put this radical move on the table despite the fact that it only introduced restrictions on smoking in public in 2013.

Nikolai Gerasimenko from the Russian parliament’s health committee said that the goal of eliminating smoking is "absolutely ideologically correct" according to The Times - however questions have been raised as to how the law would be policed.

Russia currently sells the products to anyone over 18. More than 30% of Russians are smokers and the Healthy Ministry says that between 300,000 and 400,000 Russian citizens die every year due to smoking-related illnesses.

"By 2033, the ban on the sale of tobacco products to people born after 2014 will not seem an extreme measure, but an entirely logical development of events," a representative from the Health Ministry told TASS - a Russian news agency.

The country's cigarette market is estimated to be worth more than €20bn - if the Kremlin pushes forward with these plans it is likely to encounter serious opposition from tobacco companies.

The Bigger Picture

The negative effects of smoking drain the global economy of more than $1 trillion annually, dwarfing the take from tobacco taxes.

A new study by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the US National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly $269bn in tax revenues was taken in 2013/14. This figure only takes care of roughly one-quarter of the expense of healthcare and lost productivity.

It is expected that these economic costs will continue to climb.

The study, peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts, said:

"Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now."