Russian parliament passes smoking ban

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Russia’s lower house of parliament has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would ban smoking in public places, a contentious measure in a country with one of the highest smoking rates in the world.

The ban has the backing of government leaders, who point to the hundreds of thousands of Russians who die of smoking-related illnesses each year.

The bill was passed yesterday 441-1. It is still to be approved by the upper house and signed by president Vladimir Putin.

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