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The East: Tobacco Firms Find New Markets

Copenhagen, 20 October 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The World Health Organisation says international tobacco companies are engaged in campaigns to take advantage of economic instability and weak public health policies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

A statement released Friday by WHO's regional headquarters in Copenhagen says aggressive marketing has resulted in rising rates of smoking among women and young people and tobacco-related death and disease.

The WHO says that if current trends continue, cigarettes will kill two million people a year in Europe by 202O. The organization has endorsed a proposal for a total ban on tobacco advertising, already under discussion by the European Union.