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Smoking In Public Places Banned From June 2010

Petar Kostadinov, www.sofiaecho.com – Thu, Apr 09 2009

Parliament has approved Cabinet’s proposal for a ban on smoking in public places and workplaces in Bulgaria as of June 1 2010.

Cabinet’s amendments to the Public Health Act were put forward by the Cabinet on November 20 2008, world non-smoking day.

Bulgaria has always topped the ranking of countries with the highest number of smokers, but, as experts have warned for decades, passive smoking is much more of a serious problem. Several years ago, the Government forced owners of coffee shops and restaurants to have sections reserved for smokers and non-smokers, but this has failed to lead to an improvement because smokers and non-smokers often find themselves sharing tables just a metre away from each another. Parents of young children, in particular, have often complained that a fog of cigarette smoke prevents them from taking children into the interior of restaurants.

A survey released in October among 2200 high school students in Sofia found that 60 per cent smoked. The survey, carried out by MBMD polling agency at the request of the Sofia city hall, found that most students started smoking at the age of 16.

On October 27 2008, Croatia enforced a ban on smoking in public institutions and workplaces with a six-month grace period for restaurants and bars to comply. Breaking the law will carry huge fines, up to 21 000 euro for proprietors of venues where the ban is broken. Individuals who light up where smoking is forbidden will also face hefty fines.

On November 8 2008, the Greek parliament approved a ban on smoking in public places, including all restaurants, bars and public transport, from January 1 2010. Greece provided for a 300 euro fine for lighting up in an area where smoking is forbidden.

In Bulgaria’s case the amount of the fine has not yet been stipulated.

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