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Russia launches smoking crackdown

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a campaign to crack down on smoking in Russia, the world's second biggest tobacco market after China. In a message on his video blog, he warns that one in three Russians are hooked on cigarettes and nearly 400,000 die each year from smoking-related causes. The campaign includes a proposed bill to ban tobacco advertising, raise cigarette taxes and eventually ban smoking in public places. However, Russians generally don't seem to be concerned about the proposed law. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW CITIZEN VIKTOR, SAYING: "I think people will be smoking no matter what, it's Russia." Vladimir, a resident of Moscow, agrees. He says people will smoke despite the ban. But his friend Anya says some could possibly quit if cigarette prices go up to 300 roubles, or 10 U.S. dollars a pack. The bill is expected to be submitted to parliament for approval in the coming days as big tobacco companies lobby to soften any new anti-smoking legislation.

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