Full Smoking Ban Passed in Bulgaria's Parliament
Bulgaria's Parliament adopted at first reading legislative amendments that would ban smoking in open public spaces.
A total of 99 MPs voted in favor of the amendments, while 4 were against and 10 abstained from voting. The smoking ban will come into force as of June 1 2012.
Health Minister Desislava Atanasova pointed out that the amendments passed on Wednesday also ban energy drinks for individuals under 18.
The full smoking ban in closed public spaces 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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