Kyrgyzstan Proposes Complete Ban on E-cigarettes

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    On June 10, the Budget, Economic, and Fiscal Policy Committee of the Kyrgyz Parliament reviewed a bill proposing the prohibition of importing, selling, and using e-cigarettes. The meeting approved amendments to the law “On Protecting Citizens of Kyrgyzstan from the Harmful Effects of Tobacco, Nicotine, and Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Aerosols,” incorporating these into the “Code of Offenses” and the “Criminal Code.” However, significant revisions were deemed necessary during the first discussion.

    Key Provisions of the Bill

    Prohibition Scope

    The bill proposes a comprehensive ban on the import, sale, and use of e-cigarettes in Kyrgyzstan. This extends to all forms of electronic nicotine delivery systems and heated tobacco products.

    Specific Penalty Regulations

    Usage Violations

    • Individuals: Fined 40,000 soms (about $460 USD)
    • Legal Entities: Fined 60,000 soms (about $690 USD)

    Sales Violations

    • Individuals: Fined 50,000 soms (about $570 USD)
    • Legal Entities: Fined 65,000 soms (about $747 USD)

    Import Violations

    • Fines ranging from 150,000 to 200,000 soms (about $1,700 to $2,300 USD)
    • Imprisonment for one to two years

    Parliamentary Discussion and Concerns

    Concerns Over High Fines

    Some parliamentarians expressed concerns about the high fines proposed in the bill. They argued that these fines could burden ordinary citizens and potentially lead to increased corruption and smuggling activities.

    MP Dastan Bekeshev

    MP Bekeshev suggested that the proposed e-cigarette ban might result in increased smuggling. He recommended raising taxes on e-cigarettes as a more effective approach than a complete ban.

    MP Elvira Surabaldieva

    MP Surabaldieva criticized the high fines, highlighting the financial burden on citizens and the risk of corruption in enforcement.

    Economic Considerations

    In 2023, excise tax revenue from e-cigarettes amounted to 345 million soms, indicating the significant market presence of e-cigarettes in Kyrgyzstan. The proposed ban could impact this revenue stream and the broader economy.

    Despite the controversy, the bill received support from the majority of the committee members. It will be submitted to the Parliament for further discussion and potential approval.

    Implications of the Proposed Ban

    Protecting Citizens

    The proposed ban aims to protect citizens from the harmful effects of e-cigarettes, nicotine, and environmental tobacco smoke. By prohibiting these products, the government seeks to reduce health risks associated with their use.

    Effectiveness of the Ban

    There are concerns about the effectiveness of a complete ban. Critics argue that it might lead to an increase in illegal activities, such as smuggling, rather than reducing e-cigarette usage.

    Loss of Revenue

    The ban could result in a significant loss of excise tax revenue. In 2023, this revenue was substantial.

    Market Disruption

    A complete ban would disrupt the e-cigarette market, affecting businesses involved in the import, sale, and distribution of these products.

    Potential for Corruption

    High fines and strict regulations could lead to increased corruption among enforcement officials. Ensuring transparent and fair enforcement will be crucial.

    Public Response

    The public’s response to the ban will be critical. Effective communication and education about the reasons for the ban and its intended benefits will be necessary to gain public support.


    What does the proposed e-cigarette ban in Kyrgyzstan include?

    The proposed ban includes prohibiting the import, sale, and use of e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products. It incorporates heavy fines and possible imprisonment for violations.

    What are the specific penalties for violating the ban?

    Usage violations: Individuals fined 40,000 soms, legal entities fined 60,000 soms.
    Sales violations: Individuals fined 50,000 soms, legal entities fined 65,000 soms.
    Import violations: Fines ranging from 150,000 to 200,000 soms or imprisonment for one to two years.

    What are the concerns raised by parliamentarians?

    Parliamentarians are concerned about the high fines burdening citizens, potential increases in smuggling, and corruption in enforcement. Some suggest raising taxes as an alternative to a ban.

    What is the economic impact of the proposed ban?

    The ban could lead to a loss of significant excise tax revenue and disrupt the e-cigarette market, affecting businesses involved in this industry.

    What steps will follow the committee’s approval of the bill?

    The bill will be submitted to the Parliament for further discussion and potential approval. It is still in the drafting stage and requires further modifications and deliberations.

    How might the public respond to the proposed ban?

    Public response will vary, but effective communication and education about the health benefits and reasons for the ban will be crucial in gaining public support.