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Russia launches anti-smoking crackdown with Bill

Published on Oct 16, 2012 3:00 PM

MOSCOW (REUTERS) - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev launched a crackdown on smoking on Tuesday with a bill to ban tobacco advertising and raise taxes on cigarettes in the world's second largest tobacco market after China.

Mr Medvedev, stern-faced in a leather jacket in a message on his video blog, said one in three Russians, or 44 million people, are hooked on smoking in Russia, and almost 400,000 die every year of smoking-related causes.

"Every year (the equivalent of) a large city disappears," he said. "The government has adopted an anti-tobacco concept and today we are beginning to realise it."

Under health ministry proposals, tobacco advertising - now only allowed in some print media - would be outlawed, taxes progressively increased on cigarette sales and smoking in cafes and other public spaces eventually banned.

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