Bulgaria Delays Tough Smoking Ban till 2011
Bulgaria's ruling party may delay until 2011 the introduction of a new smoking ban in the country, which has the second highest percentage of smokers in the European Union.
The postponement in the introduction of the ban, initially set for June this year, aims to avoid hurting the tourist industry during times of crisis, according to the Finance Minister Simeon Djankov.
“I hope that this is a temporary delay and the measure will be introduced in Bulgaria. This is the trend across Europe and not only Europe - smoking is forbidden in all public buildings,“ Djankov commented.
Under the proposed changes the owners of restaurants, clubs and coffee shops with an area less than 100 square meters, should decide if smoking would be allowed, while for larger establishments there must be a well-isolated smoking space.
The full ban is to remain effective for all other public spaces.
The smoking ban was voted by the previous Parliament and is part of the Health Act amendments.
Bulgaria ranks second after Greece in the EU in terms of number of regular smokers as a percentage of the population, according to a Eurobarometer survey.
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