PARAMARIBO, Suriname - Legislators in the South American country of Suriname have approved a bill that could mean jail time for people who smoke in public.

President Desi Bouterse is expected to sign the bill in upcoming weeks.

People caught smoking outside their homes, cars or other private places could be put behind bars.

The bill approved Thursday also bans tobacco advertising and requires that tobacco packages carry graphic warnings about the dangers of smoking.

The World Health Organization found that nearly 40 per cent of men in Suriname smoke cigarettes. Among them is Bouterse, a well-known heavy smoker.