A law that bans smoking in public places took effect in Russia today, a contentious move in a country with one of the highest smoking rates in the world. The ban prohibits smoking in workplaces, schools, universities, and on public transportation. More restrictions will be applied next year. Authors of the ban—which got signed into law by Vladimir Putin—have pointed to the hundreds of thousands of Russians who die of smoking-related illnesses every year. Cigarettes are much cheaper in Russia than in the US and Europe, with the price of a pack starting at about $1. That helps explain why about 40% of Russians smoke.