Turkmenistan Bans Tobacco Sales

The government of Turkmenistan has banned the sale of all tobacco products, reports the BBC.

Shops caught selling cigarettes are facing fines of up to tmt6,900 ($1,680), according to Chrono-TM, an independent website operating from Vienna.

The State Service for Protecting the Security of a Healthy Society, which previously focused on combating drugs, has been raiding shops to enforce the new anti-tobacco policy, the website adds.

The Turkmen government has a monopoly of the media, but sources from within the country have confirmed to the BBC that cigarettes have disappeared from the shelves. This has created a black market in tobacco products, with prices reaching $12 per pack, Chrono-TM says.

The move comes amid a government media campaign discouraging Turkmens from lighting up. State television broadcasts frequent reports promoting healthy living, and on Thursday it showed boxes of cigarettes being incinerated. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has featured in TV reports enjoying healthy outdoor activities such as cycling and fishing. Enditem