Bulgarian Socialist MP Supports Easing Smoking Ban
After Prime Minister-hopeful Plamen Oresharki hinted at a possible revision of the full ban on smoking in enclosed public places, a socialist MP also voiced support for the easing of the ban.
Smoking in public spaces should be allowed after 11 pm, socialist MP Martin Zahariev said at a meeting of BSP members and representatives of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association (BHRA) in Parliament, according to reports of the Focus news agency.
"We should reintroduce the regime which was in force before June 1, 2012. Greater control should be exercised, especially in connection with the ban on smoking near schools, kindergartens, sport facilities, summer cinemas and theaters," Zahariev stated.
"This is not a populist move, it aims to support small and medium-sized businesses," the MP emphasized, adding that smoking is a modern day phenomenon with socioeconomic consequences.
Zahariev said that people do not fully grasp the importance of easing the smoking ban, because it ignites "stronger social passions and emotions" than the nuclear energy in Bulgaria does.
Zahariev also said that breaking the smoking ban, which he likened to passing a red traffic light, is an indicator of the Bulgarian citizens' immaturity to follow the rules. "Hundreds of thousands of violations have been registered since the smoking ban was enacted a year ago," the socialist MP said, citing as an example Sunday's charity football match in support of Stiliyan Petrov, former Aston Villa club captain and former Bulgarian captain diagnosed with leukemia last year.
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