Bulgaria Health Minister: Smoking Ban Relaxation Unavoidable

Society » HEALTH | April 28, 2010, Wednesday // 16:31
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Health Minister: Smoking Ban Relaxation Unavoidable Bulgaria's Health Minister Anna-Maria Borisova thinks the all-out smoking ban in Bulgaria needs to be relaxed. Photo by BGNES

The Bulgarian Health Minister Anna-Maria Borisova backed parliament's decision to loosen up smoking ban in public places in Bulgaria.

A majority of 85 Bulgarian MPs voted Wednesday in favor of the motion to ease ban on smoking in all indoor public places.

Borisova commented on parliament's vote by saying that the all-out smoking ban in public places must be relaxed due to the present socio-political climate in Bulgaria and that “ though medical experts are against smoking, a compromise needs to be reached”.

Last week, when Borisova was appointed Bulgaria's new health minister following the resignation of Minister Nanev over accusations that he has concluded unfavorable for the state deals, Borisova expressed her strong opposition against smoking in public places.

When first discussing the issue the new health minister said that “all over the civilized world smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants, is banned.”

She was firm on her stand that “Bulgaria should follow the example of France where people are allowed to smoke only in the streets.”

The ban on smoking in all public places in Bulgaria is set to be enforced June 1, 2010.

However, the GERB Cabinet has come up with a proposal to relax the all-out smoking ban.

The draft amendments of the Health Act on easing the much anticipated all-out public smoking ban has surprisingly managed to bring together the ruling center-right GERB with the main opposition Socialist Party.

The ad hoc coalition claims that the proposed relaxation of a ban on smoking in all public places would avoid hurting the tourist industry during tough economic times.

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.

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Tags: smoking ban, relaxation, Anna-Maria Borisova
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