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Afghanistan begins campaign to cut smoking

Despite being the world's largest producer of heroin, Afghanistan government has put a ban on smoking in public places.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 03, 2007 11:58 AM IST

Afghanistan may be the world's largest producer of heroin, but the government has taken the first step towards to put a ban on smoking in public places.

Local media said on Tuesday that the council of ministers had ordered a campaign through the media and mosques to inform the public that smoking in educational institutions, hospitals and government offices has been outlawed.
The ban will be widened later to cover hotels and restaurants.

The reports did not say how the government would monitor the ban or what penalties there might be for violators.
There are no official figures on the number of smokers among Afghanistan's 25 million people, but unscientific observation and questioning by Reuters correspondents suggest around half the men have smoked at some point or another.

Afghans say there are very few women smokers.

War-torn Afghanistan produces over 90 per cent of the world's heroin and despite the government's repeated efforts, backed by force and tens of millions of dollars from donor countries, drugs cultivation and consumption is rising each year.

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