Russian smoking ban to affect Malawi, says TCC

Russia’s decision to ban smoking in public places will negatively affect the tobacco industry in Malawi, the Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has said.

Western countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Australia banned smoking in public places and now Russian government has also followed suit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently assented to a tough bill into law, which will from June this year prohibit smoking in schools, restaurants, long-distance trains and housing block entrance halls.

The country will also ban sales of tobacco products from street kiosks, restrict advertising and set minimum prices of cigarettes which now cost 50 to 60 roubles (K740) per pack.

Munthali: Russia's smoking ban, bad for Malawi
Munthali: Russia’s smoking ban, bad for Malawi

TCC chief executive officer Bruce Munthali told The Nation, Malawi’s flagship daily newspaper, that the Russian public smoking ban is as a blow to the tobacco industry in the country, saying the ban and restrictions may discourage some Russians from smoking or others may end up quitting it altogether.

“What this ban will do is to limit intake of tobacco products by Russians. This is one of the most populous countries in the world and its economy is picking up and as a country, we could greatly benefit if the ban was not enforced,” said Munthali, as quoted by the paper.

Tobacco is Malawi’s major export crop and contributes largely to the country’s economy as it accounts for 60 percent of its export earnings.

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