• April 21, 2024

Smoking Prevalence Halved Since 2009

 Smoking Prevalence Halved Since 2009
Photo: Comugnero Silvana

The smoking prevalence in Russia nearly halved between 2009 and 2021, reports Interfax, citing Health Minister Mikhail Murashko.

“Tobacco consumption among adults went down from 39.5 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in 2021,” Murashko told participants in a recent public health forum.

The news comes as multinationals are retreating from the Russian cigarette market in response to Moscow’s military assault on Ukraine.

Following the Feb. 24 invasion, international cigarette manufacturers announced they would end their operations in Russia, but retreating from such a major market is easier said than done. Tobacco companies have had to carefully navigate shifting regulations and avoid missteps that could prompt the government to seize the business, for example—all the while trying to protect employees from becoming targets for arrest.

Earlier this year, Philip Morris International CEO Jacek Olczak described the process as “bloody complex.” In a July interview, he said the company was unlikely to be able to leave Russia before the end of 2022.

An analysis of Russian Treasury figures conducted by The Telegraph revealed that the leading international cigarette manufacturers have provided the Russian government with at least $7.25 billion in additional income through tax payments since Feb. 24.

Russia is the world’s fourth-largest cigarette market. Prior to the war, Japan Tobacco International led the market with a 36.7 percent share, followed by PMI (31.7 percent) and BAT (23.5 percent), according to Cowen & Co.