“Left” cigarettes will not be allowed to retail

© Timur Khanov/PG

They want to control the production and circulation of tobacco products as strictly as alcohol: to issue licenses, to label in order to monitor the movement of each pack and to punish those who produce fakes. The government submitted a package of bills to this effect to the State Duma on March 9. Kurevo, according to experts interviewed by Parliamentary Newspaper, will not rise in price after the innovations, and the budget will receive additional revenues.

Sold in packs only

According to the Accounts Chamber, from 2016 to 2021, the federal budget missed about 300 billion rubles from illegal tobacco trafficking. State regulation of the tobacco market has been discussed for a long time. The Ministry of Finance, which drafted the bill, proposed taking the already established alcohol control system as a model. The document was submitted to the Government in July last year. The production and import of tobacco, nicotine-containing products and raw materials for them will have to be licensed, and equipment will have to be registered. If the machine is not used, it must be mothballed, and if it is proved that counterfeit goods were stamped on it, then the equipment will be confiscated.

The Chestny Znak labeling system will make it possible to track the movement of manufactured and imported tobacco products, to compare the volumes of imports and national output with sales. In addition, the law will prohibit the sale of cigarettes not in a pack.

Amendments are planned to be made to the Code of Administrative Offenses and to the Criminal Code. Responsibility for the illegal production and sale of tobacco will be equated with a similar crime with alcohol: production and sale without a license – imprisonment for up to three years, and as part of an organized group or on an especially large scale – up to five years.

You can’t buy for fifty dollars

Today, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Rospotrebnadzor, tax and customs services are vested with separate functions of regulating the tobacco market. And seven nannies have a child without an eye, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Budget and Financial Markets reminded Parliamentary Newspaper Sergei Ryabukhin. Parliamentarians, according to him, have long insisted on the development of a law and the creation of a single center of responsibility for the tobacco market.

There are two types of counterfeit cigarettes: these are ordinary factory packs with goods of normal quality, but removed from the excise tax, and “tobacco dust”, which is packaged at enterprises between shifts. Both of these are bad. “The losses are huge: the budget receives less than a hundred billion rubles annually,” Ryabukhin said. – According to some reports, every tenth pack of cigarettes in Russia is illegal. And if we are talking about the sale of low-quality goods, then the consumer suffers from this.

Sergei Ryabukhin
© Timur Khanov/PG

Tobacco products are excisable goods, the rate of this excise is set by the state, which means that cigarettes will not rise in price when the law is passed, Sergei Ryabukhin explained. “Of course, buying a pack for fifty dollars at the collapse will no longer work, but everyone will only benefit from this,” the senator is sure.

Fakes won’t go away

Official Russian manufacturers of tobacco suffer greatly from counterfeit products, therefore they support the proposed regulation of the market. The head of the Association of Tobacco and Nicotine-Containing Market Participants said this to Parliamentary Newspaper Andrey Loskutov. According to experts, in recent years, the share of counterfeit products has grown almost 12 times – from 1.1 percent in 2015 to 12.9 percent in the second half of 2022.

“We are glad that the state is moving from a prohibitive position to constructive regulation and control,” Loskutov said. – Of course, it will not be possible to solve all the problems at once, because there are those on the alcohol market who are trying to deceive the system, they pour past the EGAIS. But still, the volume of counterfeit is much less than without control.”

The volume of illegal tobacco fell by seven percent in 2020, when borders were closed due to the coronavirus and distribution channels were reduced. A significant part of the leftist comes to Russia from abroad, and today, the efforts of the state are aimed at solving this problem, Sergey Ryabukhin noted: “This year, Belarus will establish excise taxes on tobacco that are approximately equivalent to Russian ones, which will make it less profitable to transport huge unregistered batches to our country cigarettes. In general, an agreement was reached at the state level to harmonize excise rates with neighboring countries by 2024.”

The Federal Customs Service has established standards for the import of products from the Eurasian Economic Union for personal use. You can bring no more than 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco to Russia.

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