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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

About This Blog

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