- More than one-third (39 percent) of the population in Russia smokes.
- An estimated 60 percent of men and 22 percent of women smoke.
- Among youth (age 13-15), one-fourth (25 percent) smoke.
- Russia has one of the highest male smoking rates in the world and one of the highest youth smoking rates in Eastern Europe (boys 27 percent; girls 24 percent).
- Approximately 385,000 Russians die each year from tobacco-related causes.
- In 2002, tobacco was responsible for more than 17 percent of all deaths in Russia.
- Russian male life expectancy dropped from 64 years of age in 1989 to 59 in 2009, in part due to increased tobacco consumption.
- By comparison, men in Western Europe live, on average, 77 years.
International tobacco companies dominate Russia’s cigarette market, holding over 90 percent of the cigarette market share in Russia. In 2008, Japan Tobacco held 37 percent of the market share, followed by Philip Morris International (25 percent), British American Tobacco (20 percent) and Imperial Tobacco Group (9 percent). In Russia, more than 390 billion cigarettes were sold in 2008.
Russia ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on June 3, 2008.
Tobacco Control Policy Status
Smoke-free environments: In 2013, Russia passed a law that will immediately ban smoking in certain indoor public places such as educational, medical, cultural, sport, and government facilities. By June 2014, the law will prohibit smoking in all other indoor public places, including short- and long distance transportation and their facilities, hotels, restaurants and bars. The law grants sub-national governments the authority to strengthen local smoke-free measures.
Advertising, promotion and sponsorship: Tobacco advertising is banned on television, radio and on outdoor billboards. Advertising in newspapers and magazines is prohibited on the covers and on the first or last page. Advertising is also prohibited within 100 meters of certain locations, such as educational, medical, and cultural facilities. Vending machines are prohibited. Russia passed a law in 2013 that prohibits all promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products. All product displays at retail locations are also prohibited.
Warning labels: In June 2010, Russia implemented the new regulations requiring health warnings on 30% of the front and 50% of the back of the pack. Graphic warnings are not currently required, but will be required on 50% of the back of the back beginning in May 2013. Regulations allow misleading descriptors such as “light” and “low-tar,” so long as the products contain a warning that such products are not less harmful to health.
Tobacco taxes: Cigarettes in Russia are cheap and becoming more affordable over time. On average, the total tax (including VAT) represents about 35% of the retail price for cigarettes. Despite signs that the government may be considering tobacco tax increases, there is no evidence that excises will increase significantly.
Updated: August 2013