Proposed Ban on Nicotine Products in Russia Faces Opposition

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Proposed Ban on Nicotine Products in Russia Faces Opposition
Russian State Duma representative Sultan Khamzayev proposes nationalizing the tobacco industry to regulate and ban nicotine product sales.

In January of this year, Sultan Khamzayev, a representative of the Russian State Duma, proposed looking to China's experience to regulate the tobacco industry through nationalization. He put forth a new proposal to ban the sale of nicotine products.


It is understood that the tobacco market in Russia is of significant size, with annual sales exceeding 1 trillion rubles. However, illegal trading is on the rise. Despite some international tobacco manufacturers claiming to withdraw from the Russian market, they still maintain a dominant position, particularly due to the close collaboration between tobacco manufacturers and the government. Several government officials have been implicated in connections with major tobacco companies. This raises opposition from powerful tobacco lobbyists to Sultan Khamzayev's new proposal in the tobacco industry.


Despite the strict anti-smoking legislation implemented in 2013, the enforcement of the law in Russia has been hindered by the intervention of tobacco industry interest groups. The government's swift decision to classify cigarettes as essential goods during the pandemic has raised questions about the level of coordination between the government and tobacco companies. The Tobacco Industry Development Committee continues to operate, with its chairman still being a representative from the tobacco industry. The powerful influence of tobacco companies may make it challenging for new proposals to garner widespread support at the governmental level.


There is a clear discrepancy between Hamzayev's appeal and the government's regulatory stance on the tobacco industry, particularly regarding the interests of foreign tobacco manufacturers. The influence of the tobacco industry may be the main obstacle impeding Russia from adopting a tougher stance on tobacco issues. In this situation, Hamzayev's proposal may require more social and political support to push for reforms in the Russian tobacco industry.


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