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Russian Parliament OKs Smoking Ban

One-third of Russians smoke.
One-third of Russians smoke.
Russia's lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban smoking in public places.

The State Duma passed the bill in a 441-1 vote. It must now be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants, universities, and other public places would go into effect on June 1.

A tax increase on cigarettes is also anticipated, along with a rise in the minimum price for a pack, which now starts at about $1.

A ban would also be imposed on advertising.

Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world, with an estimated 44 million nicotine addicts, or about one-third of the population.

Based on reporting by dpa, AP, and ITAR-TASS

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