Laos to ban smoking in public places

Laos would soon make lighting up more difficult with a ban on smoking in restaurants and inside public buildings, Radio Laos said Thursday. No date was set for implementing the ban in nearly all public places, but it would be soon, the state-run radio station said in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok.

Smoking is common among Laos’ 6 million-plus people with both locally made cigarettes and imports available.

In another effort to get people to kick the smoking habit, the Ministry of Public Health started discussing increasing the tax on cigarettes in late 2008. That move was complicated because smuggling is common across Laos’ borders with both Vietnam and Thailand.

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