MINSK, 15 January (BelTA) – Belarus will restrict sale of tobacco-free chewing products containing nicotine. The expert council for entrepreneurship development at the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART) discussed this matter during a meeting on 15 January, BelTA has learned.
The council discussed a resolution of the Council of Ministers drafted by MART that provides for imposing some restrictions and bans on sale of tobacco-free nicotine-containing products (so-called chewing mixtures, or pouches). The document proposes a ban on sale of nicotine-containing chewing products to minors, in markets and on the internet, as well as on their in-store display.
So far, sale of these products is not regulated by the country's legislation, Belarus' Minister of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Vladimir Koltovich said. MART put forward this initiative after several cases of poisoning among teenagers.
The council suggested that the draft resolution should be finalized and adopted. The document was also open for public discussion on the Legal Forum of Belarus. No suggestions or remarks were made regarding the document.
Taking part in the meeting were representatives of British American Tobacco Trading Company that became the first company to sell pouches in Belarus. They also supported the proposal to restrict sale of these products and agreed that it should be regulated. “It is extremely important to ban sale of these products to minors. Perhaps, Belarus should even make selling such products to minors an administrative offense,” deputy head for legal and regulatory matters Sergei Krasovsky said.
Research of the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Tobacco, Makhorka, and Tobacco Products showed that consumers of chewing mixtures get a much larger single doze on nicotine than cigarette smokers. As a result, they quickly form a habit that leads to psychological and physical dependence.
MART believes that the current state of affairs in the market of tobacco-free nicotine-containing products calls for introducing restrictions on their sale. “At present, the Belarusian legislation does not regulate sale of such products. At the same time they are very popular, including among the youth. This segment of the Belarusian market that features Russian and other foreign companies is growing steadily. At the same time some manufacturers advertise or label their products as snus, which misinforms buyers,” the ministry pointed out.
In February 2015, Belarus banned the production and sale of smokeless tobacco products for sucking and chewing (snus, naswar, and so on) that contain tobacco (tobacco powder), an alkaline component (chalk, lime, and others), and sometimes other ingredients.