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Mongolia moves to curb smoking with heavier penalties


14:44, May 31, 2013

ULAN BATOR, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Mongolia is marking "World No Tobacco Day" on Friday by tightening measures to curb smoking, including heavier penalties.

To restrain the rising smoking population, the government clearly defined responsibilities and obligations at all levels of government and law enforcement, tobacco operators as well as ordinary citizens in a modified Tobacco Control Act.

Under the new law, which began to take effect on March 1, tobacco sales through the Internet are banned, sales outlets of tobacco companies less than 500 meters away from schools are forbidden, and selling cigarettes to citizens under the age of 21 is prohibited.

Tobacco companies and shareholders owning more than 20 percent of shares should unveil to the public their names, addresses, businesses and other information related to tobacco production on the Internet. All forms of cigarette advertising are prohibited.

Smoking in offices, public places, such as restaurants, bars and schools, railway stations, airports, is strictly prohibited. Ordinary violators will be fined for 50,000 tugrik (35 U.S. dollars), civil servants will be fined 10 to 25 times their monthly minimum wages, while law enforcement officers will be fined 25 to 50 times their monthly minimum wages.

Mongolia adopted and implemented the Tobacco Control Act in July 1993 and amended and supplemented certain terms of it in 2005, defining tobacco demand, supply, use, reduce toxicity and other aspects.

The parliament modified the Act this year once more as tobacco control was not effective enough.

In recent years, the number of smokers in Mongolia rises, in particular young and female smokers. Some of them even started smoking before the age of 10.

It is reported that up to 80 percent college and university students in Mongolia are smokers. Two major causes of death for Mongolian people,cardiovascular disease and cancer, are closely linked with high smoking rates.

Medical research shows that smoking can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and others, and has become the world's second killer after high blood pressure.

The World Health Organization also warns that about half of adult smokers will eventually die from diseases caused by smoking. It initiated the No Tobacco Day in 1987.

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