Bulgarian Business 'Begs' PM Borisov to Lift Full Smoking Ban
Representatives of Bulgaria's restaurant and hotel sector have written an open letter to Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, insisting on revoking the full smoking ban in indoor spaces.
The sector estimates a slump of 20% -40% in the turnover since the ban was introduced on June 1 2012 and alarms about noted mass exodus of customers and upcoming bankruptcies in the winter season.
According to a publication in the Bulgarian Trud (Labor) daily, the business is asking Borisov to initiate debates and changes in the Health Act banning smoking in public spaces. They propose to separate facilities as well as space inside restaurants and bars in smoking and non-smoking with strict adherence to the requirements for air-conditioning, ventilation, and not allowing minors inside the smoking places.
The proposal also includes incentives for those who implement voluntarily the full ban such as tax deductions.
The hotel and restaurant owners say if the ban is to stay, the State budget would incur losses of BGN 228 M a year from taxes, and warn their pending bankruptcies would lead to increase of the unemployment rate, particularly among young people.
The letter is signed by owners from 26 cities in the country, by the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, the informal Association "Free Choice" and the Facebook group "Association of Locales in Bulgaria."
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I am an ex smoker (from the UK) but a "holier than thou one". To my mind the previous set of rules respected the rights of both smokers and non-smokers, and BOTH have rights. In the UK the law is stupid and unfair in that smokers are supposed to stand outside in the rain and the cold to satisfy their desire. The last set of Bulgarian legislation catered for both groups with sealed partitions between smoking and non-smoking areas. What DIDN'T happen was that it was no enforced for a long enough period before everything changed again (to a total ban). Give smokers their own space they have a right to it and service those areas with staff that are either smokers or are prepared to work in a smoking area. That way everyone is happy, the smokers, the non-smokers and the business owners.