Moscow takes step towards tobacco ban

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Russia took a step towards clamping down on the tobacco industry yesterday as a bill to ban smoking in public spaces and to restrict tobacco sales sailed through its first reading in parliament.

Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has said that 44 million Russians, nearly one in three, are hooked on smoking, and almost 400,000 die every year of smoking-related causes.

Under the draft legislation, tobacco advertising will be outlawed and smoking in public places such as restaurants, bars and hotels will be phased out. It will also ban kiosks and outlets in stations from selling cigarettes.