Belarus to Increase Cigarette Prices by 2020

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By 2020 cigarettes in Belarus will be sold for the same price as in Russia, The declaration was made on October 3 at the seminar “Combating the aftermath of active and passive cigarette smoking” by Lyudmila Naroichik who is Deputy Head of the National Center for Hygiene, Epidemiology and Public Health.

Excise duties and prices are most effective tools to prevent young people from smoking and make smokers quit. At average in Europe a pack of cigarettes costs €4 (~ $5) but in Belarus you can buy cheap cigarettes for about €1. Over the past 2 years in Belarus six times there were increased prices on cigarettes. However, still there is a big difference in prices between Belarus and the neighboring countries, which causes certain problems.

All the neighboring countries are interested in standardizing pricing and taxation policies. The Finance Ministry of Belarus was asked to increase cigarette prices by 2020 so that they could be the same as in Russia.

Lyudmila Naroichik said that the draft law “Combating the aftermath of active and passive cigarette smoking” requires that cigarette prices should outpace the inflation, as it is the only way to make the law work.

In its turn,  Kristina Mauer-Stender, Program Manager for Tobacco Control in WHO Regional Office for Europe, said that the measure will only have effects when the tax will make up at least 75% of the price for tobacco products because such a tax is effective in 47% of European countries.

The bill seeks to ban smoking almost in all indoor public places and some outdoor public spaces. The law will ban classification of tobacco products depending on the content of toxic substances and its impact on human health. Each cigarette package will contain warning messages using graphic images.  Tobacco ads will be prohibited. Cigarettes will not be sold at fairs and exhibitions.

The law also regulates the layout of cigarettes in markets. Tobacco products will be sold only in special store sections, while the info about the availability of cigarettes will be indicated in a price list.

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