Russia Considers Banning E-cigarette Advertising and Imposing Fines

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Russia Considers Banning E-cigarette Advertising and Imposing Fines
Russian government may ban e-cigarette ads online and in media, with fines proposed; police seek authority to investigate sales to children.

According to a report from the Russian parliamentary newspaper on October 11th, the Russian government is considering banning e-cigarette advertisements on the internet and media, with fines being imposed. At the same time, the police are also seeking power to investigate cases of e-cigarette sales to children. This proposal is set to be submitted to the Russian State Duma by representatives from the Moscow City Council.


Currently in Moscow, according to data from the capital's trade department, there are 3,162 officially operating tobacco shops, with an additional 879 shops expected to be added in 2022. Despite a slowdown in growth this year, there is still a significant number of tobacco shops selling both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Similar situations can be observed in other regions, where e-cigarettes are readily available and often not complying with the set regulations.


This year, Russia approved a law covering e-cigarettes and all other nicotine-containing devices, such as hookahs. The law not only prohibits the sale of these products to minors, but also prohibits their public display and promotion.


Aleksei Shaposhnikov, Deputy Chief Chairman of the Moscow City Duma, has announced that Moscow has prepared a set of measures to prohibit activities pertaining to minors. On September 10, an expanded risk index list was introduced to implement consumer protection through national regulations. Starting from December 1, Russia will ban the sale of unmarked e-cigarettes containing nicotine and those without nicotine. He further emphasized that as of March 1, 2024, the production and distribution of e-cigarettes will require a license.


Alexei Saposhnikov also pointed out that even if violations of regulations are found at locations selling e-cigarettes, it is difficult to hold the owners accountable. This is because such violations need to be reported to the Russian Federal Consumer Rights Protection and Supervision Agency. He further added, "Police do not have the authority to establish agreements and handle cases regarding administrative offenses, especially when it comes to vendors selling e-cigarettes.


In addition, there are reports indicating that the Russian State Duma may soon receive a comprehensive package of legislation, which includes provisions to prohibit the publication of information on remote sales of tobacco and nicotine-containing products on media and the internet, as well as mechanisms to monitor such information. The Federal Commission for Information Technology, Innovation, and Telecommunications of Russia will have the authority to detect and prevent the operation of such websites, while lawmakers also intend to impose fines for illegal advertising of e-cigarettes.


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