MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) — Russia’s parliament, the Duma, has passed a bill aimed at increasing taxes on the sale of cigarettes, Russian business newspaper Kommersant reported.
The changes, set to take place between 2015 and 2017, will raise taxes from 8.5 percent to 11, 12 and 13 percent in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively, raising rates on premium brands by about 18 cents a pack by next year, the source said.
It is unknown whether the proposed amendment to raise the minimum price of a pack of cigarettes to 55 rubles (about $1.20) has passed, which would raise prices from the present 47 ruble ($1) a pack for the cheapest brand by next June. This amendment’s passing would also ban the import of foreign cigarettes whose price is below the 55 ruble minimum rate.
Russia’s anti-tobacco laws, which first came into force in June 2013, have made it illegal to smoke in and around train stations, airports, ports, and metro stations. In June 2014 further restrictions were introduced which made it illegal to smoke in restaurants and cafes, on railway platforms, aboard ships on long distance trips, and in other public places such as hotels, shops, stores and markets.