According to the document, as of October 1st, Russian authorities may be launching a study looking into the effectiveness of labeling tobacco products for tobacco heating devices, as well as tobacco-free hookah smoking mixtures. Participation in this government experiment will initially be on a voluntary basis.

Earlier this year, a member of the Public Chamber Sultan Khamzaev had appealed to Health Minister Mikhail Murashko to limit the operation of hookah bars until the end of the year due to the coronavirus epidemic. According to Khamzaev, a temporary ban should be set in place in order to reduce the spread of infection in the fall.

E-cig taxes

Meanwhile, last year it had been reported that the health ministry had drafted a bill to introduce excise taxes on electronic cigarettes. Former health minister Veronika Skvortsovam had said that Russia had been striving to reduce local smoking rates, and justified this proposed tax by inaccurately stating that e-cigarettes are encouraging people to take up smoking. “The manufacturers of these products are actually pulling (people) into a new malicious campaign, we need to resist,” she said.

In 2018, Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, had announced that Russia was preparing to categorize vaping products differently than tobacco products, and therefore regulate them separately.

The minister had pointed out that Russia’s Ministry of Health was onboard with this stance, and had been urging smokers to switch to the safer alternatives. She had also added that restrictions on selling the products to minors, and on their use in schools should be set in place.

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