Bulgarian Cabinet Approves Indoors Smoking Restrictions

Society » HEALTH | November 3, 2010, Wednesday // 16:20
Bulgaria: Bulgarian Cabinet Approves Indoors Smoking Restrictions Bulgaria has one of the highest smokers rates in the EU at some 39% of people declaring themselves daily smokers, topped only by Greece at 42%. File photo

Smoking restrictions in public spaces in Bulgaria are going to become effective in the beginning of 2011, according to amendments of the Health Act, dating from the beginning of 2010.

The cabinet approved Wednesday the Health Ministry's order about rules for indoor smoking in public and work spaces.

The previous, Socialist-led Three-Way Coalition cabinet passed a full smoking ban that was to become effective on July 1, 2010, but it was postponed by the current cabinet of the Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) party.

Smoking spaces inside restaurants, coffee shops and bars, in commercial and administrative buildings and in railroad stations, and airports, must have walls and tight-closing doors and good ventilation equipment.

Owners of coffee shops and restaurants with less than 50 square meters have the right to decide themselves if the establishment will be a smoking or entirely non-smoking space. In case smoking is allowed, individuals under the age of 18 would not be admitted as they are banned from smoking in all indoors spaces.

In larger establishments, at least 50% of the space must be dedicated to non-smokers.

In night clubs, smoking will be allowed at all times regardless of how large they are.

After January 1, 2011, open-space coffee shops and restaurants inside shopping malls would become non-smoking facilities.

Owners face fines for inadequate ventilation and lack of sings designating the non-smoking sections and the smoking ban for those under 18.

The checks of health inspectors will begin as soon as the new rules become effective. Fines for owners range from BGN 500 to BGN 10 000.

Individuals, who violate the ban, would also face fines, but only if they agree to provide their ID card.

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Tags: smoking, smoking ban, cigarettes, Ministry of Health
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