Bulgarian Restaurants Suffer Huge Losses over Smoking Ban

Business | September 25, 2012, Tuesday // 12:52
Full Smoking Ban Reported Disastrous for Bulgarian Restaurants: Bulgarian Restaurants Suffer Huge Losses over Smoking Ban Bulgaria's crack-down on smokers date back to 2005, when a partial smoking ban was introduced only to be widely ignored. File photo

The Bulgarian restaurant sector is registering record losses over the full smoking ban, according to the Deputy Chair of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, Atanas Dimitrov.

Speaking before bTV Tuesday, Dimitrov said the turnover has slumped by 50% after the introduction of the ban, adding it would not reduce the number of smokers in the country anyway.

He cited data from the Finance Ministry, showing that in June, after imposing of the ban, revenues from tobacco products excise duty were BGN 994 M, which was by BGN 73 M higher than the previous month.

Dimitrov added the same practice in other countries has not proven effective in giving up smoking either – measured only between 1.5% and 3%, while cigarette sales in the US keep their level despite the constant increase of smoking restrictions.

He insisted on lifting the ban, and returning to having separate smoking and non-smoking areas in establishments, along with a public debate and tax relief for the sector.

The Health Ministry, however, remains unwavering on the ban, with representatives saying that in the last 3 months when it was in effect, nothing "apocalyptic" has been noticed, the society is accepting the ban reasonably, and going back in the other direction would be more detrimental.

Many restaurant, bar, and coffee shops owners in Bulgaria say they are alarmed about looming losses since the ban has been effective so far only in the summer when people could smoke on outside tables.

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Tags: full smoking ban, smokers, ban, smoking, smoking ban, cigarettes, Health Ministry, Bulgaria, excise duty, cigarettes, Hotel and Restaurant Association, Atanas Dimitrov, record losses

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