Mirtova considers this measure unnecessary, since open display of cigarettes is prohibited in Russia: trademarks are hidden from the eyes of consumers, and their promotion is prohibited.
Sergey Slipchenko, vice president for corporate affairs of affiliated companies of Philip Morris International in Russia, believes that the government document does not take into account the potential of innovative products with scientifically proven reduced risk. “Before making final decisions on the introduction of measures such as anonymized packaging or a ban on the use of flavors, it is necessary to study the experience of other countries and assess the real effectiveness of these measures. For example, in countries that have introduced anonymized packaging, this initiative did not achieve the expected significant reduction in the number of smokers, while provoking an intensive growth in the illegal tobacco market, ”he said.
According to Vasily Gruzdev, Director of Government Relations at JTI Russia, there are “controversial proposals” in the government plan. “We are confident that the decisions of the regulators must be based on facts and reliable evidence. But it is already clear that these proposed prohibitive measures create risks of even greater growth in the illegal trade in cigarettes and nicotine-containing products in Russia, ”he said.
On the afternoon of May 6, new measures were published on the government’s website to implement the anti-tobacco concept, calculated until 2035. In particular, they talked about a possible ban on flavors and dyes. It is also proposed to prohibit the classification of tobacco products by the level of toxic substances. In the message of the press service of the government, it was also said about “working out the issue of banning the use of liquids for electronic cigarettes.”
The concept of state policy on counteracting the consumption of tobacco and other nicotine-containing products was approved by the government in 2019. Its goal is to reduce the number of smokers from the current 29% to 21% by 2035, to achieve the maximum reduction in morbidity and mortality from diseases associated with smoking.
In 2018, Deputy Minister of Health Oleg Salagay in an interview with RIA Novosti said that in 17% of cases, tobacco is the cause of premature death in Russia. “For lung cancer, this is an exceptionally significant contribution, there you can talk about tens of percent, and if we talk about bowel cancer, for example, this percentage is lower, although it is also high,” he explained.