Bulgaria waters down public smoking ban

Bulgarian lawmakers voted to loosen a smoking ban which would have forbidden smoking in all public spaces from June this year.

Bulgaria waters down public smoking ban

Bulgarian lawmakers voted on Thursday to loosen a smoking ban which would have forbidden smoking in all public spaces from June this year.

The centre-right GERB party, which won general elections last July, has said a relaxation of the ban will avoid hurting the tourist industry during tough economic times.

Under the changes, restaurants and cafes smaller than 50 square metres (540 sq ft) in area may decide whether to allow smoking, while larger establishments will be required to designate separate non-smoking halls.

Smoking will be completely forbidden in public transport, hospitals, schools, universities, cinemas and theatres.

Bulgaria has the second highest percentage of smokers in the European Union after Greece. Almost every third person between 10 and 19 years of age is a regular smoker, data from the health ministry show.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Mayıs 2010, 14:57
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