Revised Laws on Tobacco and Nicotine Products in Russia

Revised Laws on Tobacco and Nicotine Products in Russia
Russia proposes punishment for tobacco counterfeiting in an effort to control the black market and increase budget revenue.

A bill proposing amendments to the Criminal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, and Administrative Offences Code of the Russian Federation has been submitted for government committee review.

The Russian government has proposed that manufacturers and suppliers of counterfeit tobacco products could face a maximum of three years imprisonment.

These documents have been pre-negotiated with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Interior Affairs, Department of Economic Development, RosalbodRegulation, Ministry of Industry and Trade, as well as other relevant agencies.

If the bill is passed, anyone who produces, purchases, stores, or supplies tobacco products, tobacco goods, nicotine-containing products, or their ingredients without the relevant license (including import and export from the Russian Federation), will face a fine of 500,000 to 1 million rubles (approximately 48,000 to 96,000 RMB), or up to three years of forced labor, or up to three years of imprisonment, and may lose the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities.

The confiscated counterfeit products and their production equipment will be destroyed.

These measures are being taken in order to strengthen control over the black market for tobacco and nicotine products. This, in turn, will protect people from the harm of substandard substitutes and increase budget revenue.

According to experts' estimates, the share of illegal tobacco products in the Russian market has risen from 1.5% in 2016 to 10.7% in 2021. Data from the Audit Chamber shows that from 2016 to the first half of 2021, the federal budget lost 295.6 billion rubles due to counterfeit products. The losses from consumption tax were 246.3 billion rubles, while value-added tax losses were 49.3 billion rubles.

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