Bulgaria Shies Away from Smoking Ban in Open Public Spaces
Bulgaria's parliamentary health committee voted on Thursday against the proposed ban on smoking in open public spaces, such as stadiums and bus stations.
In April, Bulgaria's Parliament passed on first reading a bill banning smoking in closed public spaces, including cafes, bars and restaurants, regardless of size.
The ban will enter into force on June 1.
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.
Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has stated with certainty that the business will not suffer a serious blow over the smoking restriction.
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