Russia has adopted new policies to regulate and reduce cigarette usage in the country, including “smoking kills” and other health warnings on cigarette packs, Reuters reported June 26.
The new standards require warnings to cover at least 30 percent of the front of pack and half of the back, bringing Russia closer to European Union standards. Smoking kills between 350,000 and 500,000 people each year in Russia, where 60 percent of the male population smokes.
Russia is also one of the biggest buyers and producers of cigarettes, with 409 billion produced in 2009, according to the Association of Tobacco Producers, and cigarettes remain cheap – around $1.34 per filtered pack. The excise tax (per 1,000 cigarettes) however, is set to double by 2013.