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Tobacco Advertising Ban Begins Friday

Whatever you prefer to smoke, beginning Friday you won’t be aided or distracted by advertisements for it. Vladimir Filonov

A ban on tobacco advertising goes into effect Friday, prohibiting cigarette commercials on television, the Internet and in newspapers and barring tobacco companies from sponsoring public events.

Violations carry a fine ranging from 3,000 to 600,000 rubles ($92 to $18,300), Vedomosti reported.

The ban was to become effective in June, along with an anti-smoking law that limits the number of places where Russians can light up, but the State Duma failed to write amendments into the country's law on advertising before the deadline.

In the run-up to the ban, tobacco companies nearly doubled their advertising budgets, before slashing them in June.

Major media outlets’ revenues from tobacco commercials reached 478 million rubles in January to May, 2013, compared to 269.5 million rubles during the same period last year, according to Video International.  

Though the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service announced in May the ban would be postponed, some tobacco companies, such as BAT Russia, said they pulled their commercials from the media. Others, such as Philip Morris, said they continued placing commercials, but refused to disclose whether the volume of advertising was reduced.

Press revenues from tobacco ads dropped to 11 million rubles in June, compared to 55.9 million rubles in a year earlier, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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