NOVO-OGARYOVO, July 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s health and finance ministries are to mull the option of using tobacco taxes to help fund spending on healthcare, Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated at a meeting on Tuesday.
At a meeting in his Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Putin noted that just 35.4 percent of the population is happy with the public healthcare on offer, and said that funding is a key issue.
The Astrakhan Region governor and Health Minister both spoke up in favor of using revenue from taxes on tobacco to help meet the costs of providing public healthcare.
Putin said that this is something that would have to be developed in liaison with the finance ministry, and called linking a particular tax to a particular goal “exotic.”
“It is done in some countries, but by no means everywhere, certainly – not often. But it can be worked on,” Putin said.
Putin singled out the government’s anti-smoking policies as a particular success.
Under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that Russia signed with the World Health Organization in 2008, the country is obliged to take a tougher line on smoking and the advertising and of tobacco products by 2015.
This year Putin signed an anti-smoking law banning smoking in a variety of places ranging from government buildings and healthcare facilities to public transport and restaurants. The law is due to be fully in force by 2015.
Speaking in 2012, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that 400,000 Russians die each year from smoking-related causes.