Page last updated at 12:03 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 13:03 UK

Niger cabinet passes smoking ban

File photo of cigarettes in an ashtray in Nairobi, Kenya
Niger is one of several African states to have passed smoking bans

Niger's government has issued a decree enforcing a ban on smoking in public places and on communal transport.

A BBC reporter in the capital, Niamey, says the ban can be applied with immediate effect.

But he says it is not clear if there will be a period of grace during a planned public information campaign.

The law provides for fines ranging from 5,000 CFA ($11, £6) to 1,000,000 CFA ($2,170, £1,240), as well as prison terms for those who violate the ban.

Shops and services that breach the ban can also have their licenses removed, our reporter says.

The ban covers public transport and taxis, but not private vehicles.

The government is planning a media campaign to inform people about the new measure.

Niger's parliament passed the smoking ban in 2006, but the cabinet had not issued the decree to make it effective.

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