Russian Lawmakers Set to Vote on Anti-Smoking Legislation

Russian lawmakers are preparing for their final vote today on anti-smoking legislation aimed at reducing cigarette consumption in the world’s second-largest tobacco market.

“A system is being shaped with the primary goal of not promoting tobacco or anything that has to do with smoking,” Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak said in Moscow before the reading of the bill in Parliament, according to an e-mailed statement.

The legislation bans public smoking from mid-2014 and restricts tobacco sales and advertising. Initial measures proposed by the Russian government would have outlawed all tobacco advertising and sponsorship as well as kiosk sales immediately, with bans on trade in small retail outlets and smoking in public places taking effect on Jan. 1, 2015. The amended bill allows tobacco makers to sponsor philanthropy and sell cigarettes in all retail outlets except for kiosks.

Philip Morris International Inc., British American Tobacco Plc, Japan Tobacco Inc. and Imperial Tobacco Group Plc, which control 93 percent of the $19.5 billion Russian market, had opposed the curbs on cigarette consumption, which were backed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and approved on the first reading on Dec. 14. The new version of the legislation is a compromise after a “multi-million-dollar campaign” by the tobacco lobby, according to lawmaker Dmitry Nosov.