Bulgaria Has Second Highest Number of Smokers in EU
Bulgaria has the second highest number of smokers in Europe and ranks sixth in the world in this respect.
According to the latest Eurobarometer, which was released on Friday, 35 % of Bulgarians smoke, being preceded only by the Greeks, where the share of the smoking population is 38 %.
The country is above the average EU figure, which stood at 26 %, with 45 % of Bulgarian men and 25 % of Bulgarian women admitting they smoke.
Most Bulgarian smokers are found in the age group encompassing those between 25 and 39 years, followed by those aged between 40-54 years and the 15-24 age group.
Boxed cigarettes are the most widely used tobacco product in Bulgaria, followed by hand-rolled cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and pipes.
NGOs warn that the Bulgarian state is not taking the necessary measures to protect its population from the tobacco smoke and the smoking ban, which has been introduced, is not being observed.
According to 37 % of respondents, who visited a bar in the last six months, there were people smoking inside, while 22 % of people visiting a restaurant reported smokers inside.
These warning figures come days before May 31, when the World No Tobacco Day is marked, which this year concentrates on fighting illicit trade of tobacco products.
The NGO Smoke-free Bulgaria criticises Health Minister Petar Moskov for systematically talking against the smoking ban, Darik radio reports.