Bulgaria Set to Ease Full Smoking Ban Once Again - Report
Bulgaria's MPs are allegedly set to go for a "liberalized" version of the much anticipated full smoking ban.
The draft bill that bans smoking in closed public spaces is yet to pass first reading, but lawmakers are already considering softening it, according to the Standart daily.
MPs from the ruling centrist-right GERB have been quoted saying that the bill will most likely not be passed the way it is. Smoking will be reportedly allowed in night clubs after 10 pm.
There is no clear definition of night clubs and some restaurants may potentially also end up as smoker-friendly after 10 pm.
Worried restaurant, bar and hotel owners are said have lobbied with MPs from both GERB and the oppositional parties in order to achieve a more "relaxed" smoking ban that would not harm their businesses.
Bulgaria's cabinet has already issued an official proposal to introduce a full smoking ban for closed public areas on June 1, 2012.
Such a measure was to be enforced in 2010, but was postponed by the government with the argument that it might harm the country's tourism.
According to the latest data, approximately 39% of Bulgarians are smokers. Some 60% are said to be in favor of the introduction of a full smoking ban in closed public spaces.
Bulgaria’s crack-down on smokers date back to 2005, when a partial smoking ban was introduced only to be widely ignored.
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