Website owners will be obliged to identify the sale of cigarettes

#industry news

The owners of the sites were proposed to be obliged to identify materials about the retail sale of cigarettes. The relevant amendments to the law on information were made by a group of State Duma deputies, the document was published in the electronic database of the State Duma on June 19.

The authors of the amendments note that the law prohibits the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine-containing products remotely, but in practice its enforcement is difficult. The problem with the online sale of cigarettes and nicotine-containing products is systemic and has reached a wide scale.

Thus, in 2023, Roskomnadzor drew up 104 protocols on administrative offenses for the demonstration of tobacco products or the process of tobacco consumption in relation to audiovisual services. However, according to the information Law, it is possible to restrict access to such illegal information on the Internet by a court decision.

The procedure for removing such illegal content by contacting Rospotrebnadzor and Roskomnadzor is very long and does not always lead to success, and blocking an Internet site by court takes from three months, the legislators summarize. At the same time, the authors of the amendments emphasize, there is "a completely effective, convenient and effective mechanism for the extrajudicial blocking of Internet resources offering alcohol for sale" established by the law on information.

The projected changes will act by analogy with alcohol standards and will eliminate proposals for the sale of tobacco and vapes from the information space, the parliamentarians explain. Similar regulations regarding alcoholic beverages, which are also prohibited for retail sale remotely, have shown their effectiveness, in particular, in suppressing and preventing trade through marketplaces.

Thus, the amendments propose to oblige the owner of a resource or a page on a social network, which has access to more than 500,000 users from Russia during the day, to monitor to identify information about the online retail sale of cigarettes. According to Roskomnadzor's decision, offending sites will be included in the Unified Register of Sites with Prohibited Information.

In the spring, similar amendments were made to the State Duma, but it was proposed to adjust the provisions of two federal laws — on information technology and on the protection of citizens from tobacco smoke. According to the Parliamentary Newspaper, the document imposed a ban on the dissemination of information on the Internet and social networks about the remote sale of tobacco and nicotine-containing products, as well as proposed a mechanism for tracking such information and preventing access to it.

The bill was introduced by the Moscow City Duma, while there was a lot of talk about banning online vape trading in the State Duma. The chairman of the Chamber's Committee on Youth Policy, Artyom Metelev, noted that the law on tightening responsibility for the sale of tobacco, electric cans and "steam rooms" to teenagers is really not being implemented. Therefore, legislators have taken the path of further tightening penalties for violators. This bill, according to the recommendations of the IT committee, will be considered in September 2024.