- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) — Turkmenistan’s president has signed a program aimed at pushing forward his goal of making the Central Asian country tobacco-free by 2025.

The move by President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov was reported Saturday by the state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan. It said the program orders measures to be taken over the next five years, but did not give details.

Berdymukhamedov has made healthy living a key element of the cult of personality that surrounds his autocratic rule. He is regularly filmed and photographed riding horses, flying helicopters, cycling, jogging or lifting weights. In 2013, he banned the sale of cigarettes in state stores during the month of April each year.

The report did not clarify whether the goal of being tobacco-free by 2025 meant tobacco would be banned outright.

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