Russia’s outlook on vaping has been very mixed ever since the beginning of 2022. A legislation bill was put in to the Kremlin back in February of this year proposing the ban on the sales of vape juice and other vaping related products.
However, things have taken quite the u-turn over in Russia, with a withdrawal of the proposal and the introduction of disposable vapes floated on to the Russian markets which has seen a massive boom in sales since introduction.
In this article, I’m going to look into why the original legislations were going to be imposed, what it would have meant for the country and what impact disposable vapes have had since their introduction.
Russia considered vaping a threat
As mentioned above, in February this year the Russian government were looking at several options to combat what they saw as a threat and that was the popularity of vaping. A pretty absurd claim of it being considered a threat, but that’s what they saw it as!
Back in 2021, an Order was complied and approved by Russian Prime Minister that outlined the dangers of nicotine, and proposed a move to ban all nicotine contained e liquids and the use of e liquids for e cigarettes. This order was also an effort to try and combat the sales and import of tobacco and tobacco related products on the black market which is costing the country hundreds and thousands in dodged tax import duty, as well as retail tax.
They also suggested a ban on all nicotine containing products being sold to anyone born after 2010. This was all done as an effort to reduce the number of smokers within Russia, aiming to reduce the number of smokers from 29% to 21% by the year 2035. However, these were all formally put forward but nothing was ever made official as a bill.
The order however is still in front of Parliament, but has not been heard so something could still be imposed in the future, with the suggestion of a combined excise rate for vape juices and disposable vapes, which leads nicely into the next topic of this article.
Disposable Vapes take the helm
Disposable vapes have been sold in Russia since the start of the year and recently have seen a massive surge in sales with online sales increasing by 284% as reported by the top 5 online retailers.
The availability of them isn’t just down to online retailers, with 35% of tobacco retailers now stocking disposable vapes, rising from 7% reported in May 2021. To give an insight of just how much disposable vapes have increased, there was only roughly 150 products on the market in May 2021, where as now it’s at 5000 different disposable vapes available to buy!
Without touching too much on the subject, it’s widely believed the conflict between Russia and Ukraine had a massive impact on the prices of tobacco so more people turned to vaping as a cheaper alternative, but with conflicting calming down and costs going down, vaping is still prevailing in popularity in Russia.
And the continuing trend with disposables continues in Russia, with the variety of tempting flavours are making underage users want to try disposables that is becoming a cause for concern in the country.
Russia doesn’t fall under TPD laws like the UK, and have a higher juice capacity compared to the ones sold here. More users in Russia are turning to use these for the longevity factor and not having to frequently buy a disposable, this isn’t affecting the numbers of sales greatly though.
Vaping up, Smoking down
As expected with this rise in vaping popularity, the amount of cigarettes sold in Russia has seen a decline recently.
Reports show that the sale and production of cigarettes and combustibles in Russia has fallen 14% compared to year-on-year reports, but still equating to 106bn cigarettes a year, however the decline is continuing which is good news.
In conclusion, it’s interesting to see the topsy turvy nature of the Russian government with their views on vaping and disposables. Something I’ll be keeping a watch on and continue writing on any changes