Russia Edges Closer To Ratifying FCTC
New legislation to adopt a ban on tobacco advertising, if approved, would allow Russia to ratify the World Health Organization FrameÂwork Convention on Tobacco ContÂrol (FCTC). The FCTC calls all signatories to undertake a comprehensive ban on all tob
New legislation to adopt a ban on tobacco advertising, if approved, would allow Russia to ratify the World Health Organization FrameÂwork Convention on Tobacco ContÂrol (FCTC). The FCTC calls all signatories to undertake a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and tobacco companies' sponsorship of events within five years of signing
In other countries, complete bans on tobacco advertising, along with further restrictions on smoking, have been shown to seriously reduce sales of tobacco. Research from the Tobacco Control Resource Center shows that when such bans were introduced in Norway, Canada and France the prevalence of smoking was reduced by 9, 4 and 7 percent, respectively.
The current size of the Russian tobacco market is due partly to the high levels of investment from tobacco companies seeking to compensate for losses in countries where strict regulations have already come into force.
According to survey data from Nielsen, more than 300 billion cigarettes are sold annually in Russia with a value of around 10 billion dollars. This figure is despite the fact that a raft of new laws was introduced in Russia in 2002 to ban tobacco advertising outdoors, on television and on the radio. These measures failed to have an effect on tobacco sales, which continue to grow by between 3 and 4 percent per year by volume.
Current data from one of Russia's leading tobacco companies, British American Tobacco, also suggests that Russians' taste for cigarettes is developing rather than declining.
Partial bans on advertising have been shown to be ineffective at reducing sales of cigarettes as the tobacco industry can substitute advertising in other media.
Tobacco companies have reacted calmly to news of the draft law. Alexander Lioutyi, corporate affairs director for British American Tobacco, said in a statement that the company welcomed the move: "British Amercian Tobacco Russia supports the ratification of the framework convention of the WHO on tobacco control in Russia, as we believe that the result of adopting this convention will be reasonable steps, directed toward the development of balanced governmental control of the Russian tobacco industry, taking into account the interests of all parties involved."
A statement from Japanese Tobacco International, another of Russia's biggest market players, was also positive:
"JTI believes that appropriate regulation of tobacco is both necessary and right, in the intrest of public health. We believe that the WHO, sovereign governments, non-government organizations and the tobacco inductry should all work together to resolve these issues."