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Putin Signs Law Banning Smoking

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law banning smoking in public places.

The law will take effect in two stages. Beginning in June, the law will ban smoking in some public places, including subways and schools. A year later, the ban will go into effect in other areas, including cafes and restaurants.

The ban will also restrict cigarette advertising.

Russian officials say they hope the law will help undermine an entrenched cigarette culture and reverse a decline in Russia's population, as smoking is blamed for many deaths each year.

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