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December 17th, 2012:

Non-smoking Ukraine: fun without tobacco smoke

Articles / 17 December 2012 | 12:45
Non-smoking Ukraine: fun without tobacco smoke
Since yesterday, Ukraine has introduced the full ban on smoking in public places, including bars, restaurants, stadiums and others. From now on smokers who used to light-up a cigarette between two meals will have to go outside. ForUm decided to learn the details of the new rules, including punishment for breach of the ban.

Stop: non-smoking places

The new law forbids Ukrainians to smoke in all facilities (including housekeeping area) of eating places. It means clubs, bars, restaurants, pubs, kebabs, canteens or any other place, which serve at least chips, will become free of tobacco smoke.

Moreover, Ukrainians do not have a right to smoke in elevators and payphones; healthcare and educational institutions; playgrounds; communal entrance hallways and underground crosswalks; public transport (including transport of international traffic); culture establishments; sports grounds, stadiums and indoor and outdoor sport facilities. From now on football fans cannot smoke even during a match.

According to lawyer Taras Shevchenko, this bans applies to all types of cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes and water pipes. In fact, the law does not speak about cigarettes in particular, but about tobacco products in general, which includes smoking pipes and cigars.

Moreover, the new law cancels the norm, which stipulates that all public eating places must divide smoking and non-smoking areas in the ratio 50:50.

At the same time, according to the lawyer, it is still allowed to smoke in outdoor eating areas, balconies and open verandas, meaning the ban covers only indoor premises.

However, there is a loophole in the law. There is a norm, which stipulates that “the owner, authorized representatives or leaseholders of premises in question must ban smoking indoors or equip a special area for smoking with extraction ventilation and place visual information about such areas as well as health warnings.”

The law does not specify the characteristics of smoking areas, meaning owners can interpret this norm as they see fit. However, “not equipping special area for smoking with extraction ventilation and not placing visual information, provided by the article 152 of the Law, is penalized with 3400 hryvnais (HK$1000 = hryvnai 956) of fine.” And this is not the only fine, stipulated by the new law.

Expensive responsibility

In order to make Ukrainians stop smoking in restaurants the government introduces an administrative responsibility in the form of fines.

“Ignoring the ban on smoking in public places is penalized by the fine in the amount from one thousand to ten thousand hryvnias,” the law says. Well, one cigarette definitely does not cost ten thousand hryvnias… Moreover, not only the smoker but also the owner of the establishment will have to pay the same fine.

However, the law does not specify who must impose the fine and define its amount.

There is also a fine for “provocation”, meaning placing ashtrays or not taking measures to impede smoking in unauthorized areas. The amount of fine varies from one thousand to ten thousand hryvnias. Hence, from now on, bar owners can be forced to pay even for ashtrays traditionally placed on bar tables indoors. This norm does not apply to outdoor eating areas, though.

According to the authors of the law, with this ban they want to:

– protect workers of catering industry from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke at work;

– protect non-smoking visitors of public eating places from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke while eating;

– protect visitors of stadiums, sports grounds, clubs and athletics classes from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke.

Well, within the time we will see how it will work in practice. Maybe, police raids will not be necessary, as neither businessmen nor consumers want to pay a heavy fine for a small cigarette.

Tetyana Hryhorieva

Plain Packaging: The domino has started , NZ next, then UK, India , France and the avalanche follows …..

  • December 17, 2012, 1:24 PM ET

Australia’s Tobacco Crackdown, Heading To Europe?

ByTom Gara

At the beginning of December, one of the world’s toughest anti-tobacco laws came into effect in Australia, banning all company branding and logos from cigarette packaging. A pack of cigarettes in Australia is now an olive-green box with health warnings and the brand name written in a discreet, generic font at the bottom.

Those plain-packaging laws, which were vigorously opposed by the tobacco industry in Australia, could next move over to Europe. From Reuters today:

The European Union’s executive Commission is to propose larger health warnings on cigarette packets and a total ban on flavorings such as menthol, a draft revision of EU tobacco rules seen by Reuters showed on Monday.

The proposals stop short of forcing all cigarettes to be sold in plain packets carrying graphic health warnings, as required in Australia from the start of this month. But individual EU governments will be free to insist on such packaging if they choose to do so.

Australia has been an early mover on anti-tobacco laws, banning advertising on TV and radio in 1976, in newspapers in 1989, and sponsorship of sports and cultural events in 1992. The packaging itself is pretty much the last place company logos could be found, and now that too has been banned.

When the Australian High Court rejected an appeal against the new plain-packaging laws back in August, tobacco companies worried the laws would soon be tested overseas, and today’s news on the draft EU decision will certainly keep those worries alive.

International trade agreements are one way the tobacco industry and sympathetic countries are fighting back. Ukraine, the Dominican Republic and Honduras have already filed complaints claiming the Australian laws violate free-trade treaties, and today the Dominican Republic called for the WTO to set up a special panel to investigate whether the Australian laws comply with WTO regulations.

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