by introducing an excise tax on eLiquids and vapes. Despite or perhaps in inspiration of our current vaping hysteria in the West, last month Russian news agencies reported that the health ministry has drafted a bill to introduce excise taxes on electronic cigarettes, instead of, you know, banning them.
Russian health minister Veronika Skvortsovam said that Russia has been striving to reduce local smoking rates, and she is justifying this recently proposed tax by unironically parroting some of the western vape rhetoric that vaping is just tricking people to take up smoking. “The manufacturers of these products are actually pulling smokers into a new malicious campaign, we need to resist,” she said.
In 2018 Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, announced that the Russian government has taken the initiative to separate these devices into a separate category because they are radically different from traditional cigarettes and tobacco. This motion was commended by public health experts, who have been incessantly pointing out that any product regulations should be relative to risks.
“Electronic devices are safer. Many experts, including Western experts, even articulate a figure: electronic means of nicotine delivery are 95% less harmful than conventional cigarettes. The number itself can be discussed, but the fact that the misdeeds are much less obvious. Therefore, the regulation of traditional tobacco products and electronic means must be unambiguous,” said Manturov at the time.
The minister had also pointed out that Russia’s Ministry of Health agreed with this motion, and was urging smokers to switch to the safer alternatives. In relation to the impending regulations, the Minister had said that these should include restrictions on selling the products to minors, and on their use in schools.
There you have it, even the Russians are aware of the bad press and straight up lies about vaping going around in the west, and they simply do not care. Granted, vaping is probably near the very bottom of the list of things Russians are worried about, let a lone care about, but they are at least acting in a way that is in their public's best health interests.