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Russian Smoking Ban Comes Into Effect

In Russia, a ban against smoking cigarettes in bars and restaurants has officially come into force -- making it illegal for some 44 million smokers across the country to light up inside such businesses.

The latest measure under President Vladimir Putin to promote healthy lifestyles in Russia came into force on June 1.

It expands a ban imposed last year against smoking in government buildings to include restaurants, bars, hotels, and trains.

Cigarettes also are no longer allowed to be put on display in Russia's shops or sold in kiosks.

Sergei Kalashnikov, head of the State Duma’s Public Health Committee, says "the point has been forcefully made and people will be punished for ignoring the law.”

Restaurant and bar owners fiercely oppose the ban -- with 82 percent saying they expect customer numbers to drop as a result.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP