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WHO Says Turkmenistan Has World's Lowest Tobacco-Smoking Rate

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) says Turkmenistan is the country with the world's lowest proportion of tobacco smokers.

WHO chief Margaret Chan said during a July 21 health forum in Ashgabat that a recent WHO study shows only 8 percent of Turkmenistan's population smokes tobacco.

She said "this is the lowest national indicator in the world."

Turkmenistan annually holds a month of public exercises and sporting events under the slogan "Health and Happiness."

It was one of the first post-Soviet republics to crack down on smoking, introducing hefty fines in 2000 for smoking in public places.

In 2013, a new antismoking law came into force that prohibits smoking in public and private enterprises, institutions, organizations, restaurants, shops, cultural centers, and parks.

The law also bans tobacco advertising in media and in shops selling the product, and prohibits tobacco products as gifts.

Based on reporting by AFP,, and