Republic of Congo passes anti-smoking law

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of Congo (AP) — A Republic of Congo official says the country is announcing a new law that limits the sale and consumption of tobacco.

Minister of Health Francois Ibovi said Friday the law prohibits the consumption, purchase and possession of tobacco for minors, pregnant women and the mentally ill, with fines for those selling to that population starting at nearly $400. It also prohibits advertising or promotion for tobacco.

The law also prohibits smoking in public places, such as schools, hospitals and public transportation.

Ibovi says the law was approved by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso in July 2012, but the government decided to announce it on World No Tobacco Day.

The Republic of Congo, often overshadowed by its much larger neighbor Congo, is now among the minority of countries in Africa with anti-smoking laws.

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