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A horse, a horse … Turkmenistan president honours himself with statue

Chan said the country had ratified the framework convention on tobacco control in 2011, by which time it had already banned smoking in public places.

Also speaking at the forum, was Vera Luiza da Costa e Silva, the head of the convention’s secretariat, who challenged the central Asian state to drive smoking down to 5% in the coming years.

In 1990, 27% of Turkmen men over 15 and 1% of women smoked.

A decade later Turkmenistan banned smoking in public places, state buildings and the army, and all forms of tobacco advertising.

By comparison, 31.1% of the global male population over the age of 15 smoked in 2012, and 6.2% of women were smokers.

Berdymukhamedov, who trained as a dentist and is a keen horseman, has been in power since the death of his eccentric predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, in 2006. Niyazov campaigned against smoking and built a 36km “path of health” into the mountains surrounding Ashgabat which government officials were forced to walk.

In April, the gas-rich country of more than five million held a month of public exercises and sporting events under the slogan “health and happiness”.

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