- Associated Press - Thursday, November 24, 2011

BRASILIA, BRAZIL (AP) - The Brazilian Congress has passed a bill banning smoking in enclosed public places nationwide.

Smoking bans are already in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other big cities.

The new law goes one step further. It makes illegal designated smoking rooms in airports and bars that exist even in those places with a ban already in place.

It also raises taxes on tobacco products and is forcing a minimum price on the products, increasing costs for consumers by up to 55 percent within four years.

The law is in part aimed at cigarettes that enter the country illegally, mostly over the border with Paraguay. Those are sold for a fraction of the price of Brazil-made cigarettes.

President Dilma Rousseff is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

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