For all the deserved criticism President Viktor Yanukovych is getting in his steady march toward authoritarianism, his two-year-rule has its bright spots. One of them is the president’s strong support for public health, at least when it comes to adopting policies that help break his nation from the deadly habit of smoking.

Yanukovych on June 13 signed into law a complete ban on smoking in public places – restaurants, bars and nightclubs – as well as government buildings. Small smoking sections will still be allowed in private buildings.

“The new law means that Ukraine moved one more step toward Europe and the smoke-free facilities that are the norm in most European countries,” said Konstantin Krasovsky, the nation’s tireless tobacco-control champion.

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