Bulgaria Health Commission Tightens Smoking Ban
The Bulgarian Healthcare Commission has decided to reduce the size of bars/restaurants that will be allowed to permit smoking on their whole premises.
The Commission announced Thursday that they would reduce the permitted size from 100 square meters to 50 sq.m, meaning that any bars/restaurants over the size of 50 sq.m will have to provide a separate isolate room for smokers.
This decision came after the Commission reviewed changes to the Health Act regarding smoking, before the second reading of the new bill is held in the Bulgarian Parliament. The final changes mean that there will be a full smoking ban in public places on June 1, while just 24 hours later on June 2, smoking will be allowed under certain conditions.
It was also revealed that for all bars/restaurants that only work at night there will be no requirement to provide a separate room for smoking.
On April 28 The Bulgarian parliament approved on first read the proposed relaxation of Bulgaria's smoking ban in all closed public spaces.
The ban on smoking in all public places in Bulgaria was set to be enforced June 1, 2010. However, the GERB Cabinet came 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.
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The truth is that in Bulgaria the legislation is currently almost unenforceable. The drivers of Taxis display no smoking signs and puff away frequently, some do ask first others don't and look deeply offended when asked to stop. Drivers of the minibuses around Sofia think nothing of filling their minibuses full of smoke during the winter months when it's freezing out and the windows are closed.
So - although a smoking ban would be a good thing, and I was one that opposed it in the UK initially but have realised how well it has worked, it is largely pointless due to innate resistance of the Bulgarian populace, the general "I'm alright f**k the rest of you" attitude that has become the general attitude of anyone under 40 in Bulgaria and the lack of any real attempt by law enforcement authorities to police such a ban.
The trouble with all legislation is that often the public, and even the politicians, are not aware of what it actually states.
Legislation that bans something ought to be checked carefully so that it 1. doesnt overreach 2. fails to make provision for legal alternatives or arrangement
As for smoking. Most people who smoke do so because they enjoy it. Most find it to be relaxing and stress relieving.
They want of course to be able to enjoy other things at the same time that they are smoking.
I no longer smoke, but when I did I really enjoyed smoking a couple of cigarettes with a really big coffee.
Where I live you can smoke in the outdoor sections of cafes and restaurants, and they usually provide heaters if its cold, so smokers have that as a decent option here.
Cant smoke inside bars, but can smoke in a beer garden or courtyard area of some pubs.
Smokers have gotten used to it, so its works out alright for them and for non-smokers.
Some places let you use a vapor cigarette, but some people get freaked when they see people who look like theyre smoking. The vapor looks like real smoke so its hard to tell from a distance. Its flavored like tobacco and has nicotine in it, but its just vapor so it doesnt cause cancer or anything.
Im surprised more people dont use vapor cigs. I guess not many people know about them. And big cigarette companies probably feel threatened by them.
If you want to know more about them one of the companies that makes them has a website with heaps of info, such as safety testing, opinions of smokers whove tried them, legal issues, etc.
There's a real issue of worker's rights which is never mentioned in the media. I believe there is an EU law (not sure on this, it may just be local laws all over the EU except BG!) that worker's have a right not be subjected other's smoke. ie "no smoking in the workspace". Surely cafes, bars, pubs and clubs are workspaces for the staff. I see a massive lawsuit oppportunity here against the state and individual premises. Because the standard response of the premise would be "well, don't work here, if you don't like smoke". But this argument has no legal basis. You have a right to work in a smoke free environment, no matter what your job.
"Non-smoking does not affect the economy - go to California or any place in the US. There is no smoking. Restaurants and bars are full - as in Ireland and England. This is a ridiculous sham."
It is a sham, but I think it would harm local cafe. BG is not the US or UK.
1st of all 50% of the population smoke (and REALLY DO smoke, not just like on a night out or something).
2nd the place they smoke is often in a cafe. This is just the culture - sit down, order a coffee, have a fag, laze about (to their credit they don't drink too much in this situation).
3rd Most of the time they sit outside and even I (strongly anti smoking) have to say I don't have much of an issue with people smoking on the next table if I am outside (cafe's round my place aren't so cramped as elsewhere). The exception is winter and this really frustrates me because it means I can't go out with my kids in winter ANYWHERE (to an indoor place).
But it's all by the by. I simply don't see any BG government being capable of enforcing such a law. It won't work.
This is nonsense. This bill is so watered down it will do no good. Non-smoking does not affect the economy - go to California or any place in the US. There is no smoking. Restaurants and bars are full - as in Ireland and England. This is a ridiculous sham.