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Anti-Smoking Law Takes Effect

The first stage of the new anti-smoking law came into effect on Saturday, though Moscow police are starting out by issuing verbal warnings rather than fines.

Moscow police chief Anatoly Yakunin said Friday that a mechanism was being worked out to designate people within the city police force to administer fines for smoking, though for the first few weeks, smokers would likely get off with a verbal warning, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

"We understand that [smokers] can't quit the habit so quickly," Yakunin said in comments carried by RBK.

Yakunin also said the law could save up to 100,000 lives a year and urged smokers to kick the habit.

As of Saturday, smoking in state institutions, universities, schools and hospitals is forbidden, as well as in elevators and stairwells and near metro stations.

The maximum fine for smoking in public places has been set at 3,000 rubles ($94).

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