Big Tobacco Fights Russian Crackdown
Kremlin pushes for strict anti-smoking laws
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2012 1:24 AM CDT
Two Russian women smoke in downtown Vladivostok.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

(Newser) – With cigarettes only costing a dollar a pack and next to no restrictions on smoking in place, Russia is a smoker's paradise compared to most Western nations—and that's just how tobacco giants want it to stay. The government of Russia, the world's second-largest tobacco market after China, is planning to finally crack down on the country's high smoking rates, but it is facing stiff opposition from the four firms that control more than 90% of the market, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Around 40% of Russians smoke and the habit kills around 400,000 of them every year. By volume, smoking rates have soared 51% since 1998. The government plans to hike the tobacco tax, ban cigarette advertising, and limit smoking in bars and restaurants. "This is going to be a harsh measure, but it is absolutely necessary," a government spokesman says. "It will take time—maybe another generation—but we will succeed in defeating smoking and promoting a healthy lifestyle."

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Oct 16, 2012 2:45 PM CDT
I look at it this way; we failed to defeat communism during the Cold War. So instead we're going to defeat Russia and China by giving them products that allow them to kill themselves. And our companies profit by it in the mean time. What could be more American than that? And we, who became wise to cigarettes lethal side, will be left standing (and relatively healthy).
Oct 16, 2012 10:35 AM CDT
"Around 40% of Russians smoke and the habit kills around 400,000 of them every year." Well, with a vastly swift rising global populatin this seems at least like it helps population control a LITTLE bit.
Oct 16, 2012 10:18 AM CDT
Big Tobacco should hire Bain as consultant again.