MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's lower house of parliament approved a law to delay an increase in tobacco excise tax by six months until July 1 2018.
The current excise duty stands at 1,562 rubles ($26.44) per 1,000 cigarettes and 14.5 percent of its presumed value, a calculation based on the highest retail price.
The law will come into force after it is approved by the upper house of the parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin.
According to the government plan, the tax will increase on July 1 of next year to 1,718 rubles per 1,000 cigarettes.
Russia's multi-billion dollar tobacco market is dominated by foreign groups, including BAT (BATS.L), Imperial Brands (IMB.L), Japan Tobacco (2914.T) and Philip Morris (PM.N).
Russia began tightening regulations on the tobacco market in 2013, restricting cigarette sales and banning advertising and sponsorship of events by tobacco companies, followed by a ban on smoking in public places. It has also previously raised excise taxes.
(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova, editing by Louise Heavens)