Bulgarians Rally in Support of Unlimited Smoking

Society | November 22, 2012, Thursday // 16:26| Views: | Comments: 6
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Representatives of businesses, as well as regular citizens have assembled Thursday in front of the Bulgarian Parliament in Sofia to rally for a lifting of a full smoking ban in closed public spaces.

Restaurants and bar owners have staged a symbolic "empty tables" protest to demonstrate what they argue is the effect of the ban on their businesses.

The event, which has gathered several hundred people, is co-organized by the Bulgarian Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners.

Protesters carry signs such as "The Ban Increases the Number of Smokers," and "Equal Rights for Smokers and Non-Smokers."

People are requesting the reversal of the ban, which came into effect in the beginning of the summer, and a reversal to a partial ban, which sees establishments holding areas for both smokers and non-smokers.

While resaurant and bar owners argued that the state should make strict inspections on the implementation of smoke-free areas, they said that a full ban would effectively kill their businesses.

Bulgaria is consistently ranking among the top 5 European countries in terms of smoking rates, both in the general population and among the young.

Anti smoking ban protests are also scheduled for other Bulgarian cities Thursday.

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Tags: Association of Hotel and Restaurant Owners, smoking, smoking ban, restaurants, bars, protest, protesters
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» To the forumComments (6)
KK1988 - 25 Nov 2012 // 01:36:33

hey im a smoker so this does relate to me since im the one being limited in my freedoms and such. at first the rule was you cant smoke here, but you can smoke there. which i understand since some people just cant help being incovenienced for the sake of being incovenienced, but nevertheless it is their right to be able to sit somewhere where it does not exist the ever so slight possibility that they inhale some second hand smoke, which is safer than say, crossing a busy street and inhaling CO emissions.
then the law changed and i cant smoke anywhere, really who was i bothering while smoking in my designated smoking area?? some people just cant stop complaining, i feel the urge to kick them in the pants. as for the dude who said civilization is coming to bulgaria, whats so uncivilized about smoking? i just bought an electronic cigarette, i plan to smoke indoors with it, until non smokers start nagging again and they ban it too.

peterperfect - 24 Nov 2012 // 11:32:34

The previous system of smoking/no smoking areas was, and still is the best option. Doesn't matter what Europe and USA do, that doesn't make them right. By having separated areas preserves the rights of both smokers and non smokers and lets everyone enjoy a drink and a meal out in public, restaurant/bar owners stay in business and staff keep their jobs - everyone is happy. The separated areas however MUST be policed by staff and owners so that everyone's rights are upheld, nothing to do with calling the Police, I have observed this policing by staff and it DOES work. Notices around give a warning and, if someone ignores them, the staff move in a POLITELY point out the no smoking area. I have seen this work in several restaurants it just needs all he others to have the courage to police it.

MysteryHP - 23 Nov 2012 // 11:17:01

Dear Peter, these smoking / no smoking section does not work at all. As you suspect, you can be guaranteed that the whole place would be smoking, as Bulgarians don't follow signs or laws. There is nothing you can do when people smoke in the smoking section. The Bulgarian militia does not even come when you report serious incidents like fights, i doubt they will come for a smoking signal. Or if they do come, they come after a few hours. And of course the Militia officers themselves probably would come with a cigarette in their hand when responding. :)

peterperfect - 23 Nov 2012 // 10:18:56

I am an ex smoker, gave up around 20 years ago but I agree with these guys. The best option was the previous one, having seperate smoking.non smoking areas. The exception must be however, unlike the previous option it must be enforced by the owners and workers in the premises. No point in having a no smoking area with ash trays laid out or people turning a blind eye to smoking in a no smoking area.

lubolubo - 23 Nov 2012 // 10:14:44

Can't agree more! The business owners would just have to come up with other ways to bring and keep customers.

MysteryHP - 23 Nov 2012 // 00:11:39

Oh come on! Bulgaria is just late in implementing laws instituted almost very where else in Europe and America. Of course people should not smoke in indoor places. If there is still some civilization left in Bulgaria, it will follow through on the right thing to do. Doing the right thing puts people before business. If mafia country like Russia can close all the casino's, why can Bulgaria, and EU county, not do things like ban smoking, close disco's in student city, and protect the forests? It's time for Bulgarians to realize that the days of living in a land of no laws is over. Civilization has arrived.

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