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Russian Lawmakers Approve Smoking Ban

24 November 2004 -- Russia's upper house of parliament today approved a bill on banning smoking in public places.

Lawmakers in the Federation Council voted 90-19 in favor of the bill. In order to become law, it has to be signed by President Vladimir Putin. The bill was adopted unanimously by the Duma, the lower house.

Russia has the fourth highest smoking rate in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO estimates that at least 60 percent of Russian men over the age of 15 smoke.