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Afghans Beat The Habit

A young Afghan sells cigarettes in Kabul (file photo)

A young Afghan sells cigarettes in Kabul (file photo)

Afghanistan's Health Ministry has announced new restrictions that prohibit smoking in offices, hospitals, airports, and other public areas.

Deputy Health Minister Nadera Hayat Burhani told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that the measure is part of an official antismoking campaign and includes new penalties for those caught lighting up in no-smoking areas.

Smoking is thought to claim the lives of thousands of Afghans every year.

Gallup pollsters in 2007 placed Afghans among the world's least frequent smokers, with around 9 percent of respondents saying they'd smoked during the past day compared to figures nearing 40 percent in places like Cuba and Russia.

-- Andy Heil

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at