Russia To Support Vaping To Combat Smoking Rates

Steve Birr | Vice Reporter

Russian leaders are considering a tobacco policy shift to regulate and tax vapor products as a way to encourage smokers to ditch combustible cigarettes.

Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said in a February interview that Russian health officials will likely begin using separate electronic cigarette regulations that do not treat the devices like tobacco products under the law. Vaping will be governed in a separate product category than combustible cigarettes, Manturove said, because the devices are a “safer” alternative to smoking, Vaping 360 reported.

Russia wants to “encourage smokers to switch from conventional tobacco to the new devices,” he added, floating the possibility vapor product taxes will be set lower than those of cigarettes.

“Smokers should switch to ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) and electronic tobacco heating systems,” Manturov said in the interview, according to Vaping 360. “We suggest making a special law to regulate such devices with obvious restrictions, such as sale ban to minors, no smoking in schools, kindergartens and other similar places, and also we need to introduce administrative responsibility for violation of these restrictions.”

Russia stands to see major health gains if the government starts incentivizing smokers to ditch the tobacco addiction. An estimated 40 percent of the population are active smokers, and nearly half-a-million Russians die each year from the habit. Cigarette smoking was still permitted until 2014 in offices, restaurants, bars and airports — as well as on public transportation like buses and trains.

Global research studies are proving vaping drastically cuts the risks from cigarettes and improves future health outcomes for smokers.

University of Catania scientists in Italy recently conducted a three-year study investigating the effects of regular vaping on a user’s body, finding “no evidence of health concerns associated with long-term use of e-cigarettes” on blood pressure, heart rate, body weight, lung function, respiratory symptoms, exhaled breath nitric oxide and exhaled carbon monoxide.

A 2014 European Union-commissioned study showed roughly six million European smokers quit cigarettes via vaping devices.

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