Shall Bulgarians Smoke in Public Places?

A ban on smoking in public places was introduced in many European countries: Ireland (March 2004), Norway (June 2004), Italy (January 2005), Sweden (June 2005), Scotland (March 2006 ), Lithuania (January 2007), Latvia (January 2007), Albania (January 2007), Wales and Northern Ireland (April 2007), England (June 2007), Iceland (June 2007) , Finland (June 2007), Estonia (June 2007), Denmark (August 2007), France (February 2008), Turkey (2008/2009). In Bulgaria this ban became effective as of June 01, 2012. This law caused an ongoing debate whether the measures will be effective or not.

Many of the above countries report good results. And it is not so only in Europe, for example, the Venezuelan Ministry of Health announced that for the past one year of enforcement, tobacco sales have been reduced by 50-percent. According to estimates of experts, there are about 7 million smokers of 28 million people of Venezuela, as ITAR-TASS reports.

Chicago Certified Translators who have studied the issue say, that Venezuelan law is rather strict. it provides penalties for violators ranging from 912 to 190 thousand bolivars. In dollars, smokers or restaurants, which violates the prohibition must pay from 212 to 44 000 dollars. Smoking ban covers all public places – airports, all public transport, offices, restaurants and discos. The text of the law prohibits the cafes and restaurants to be divided into rooms for smokers and nonsmokers because experience from other countries shows that this is a totally useless measure.
The Baltimore Translation Agency workers also note, that cigarette prices in Venezuela alone have a prohibitive effect, too. A package of the cheapest cigarettes costs 18 bolivars, which is more than four dollars. The prices of worldwide famous brands reach to 30 bolivars (about $ 7).

The Venezuelan experience shows that obviously the way to curb smoking which deteriorates not only our health but also endangers the health of people surrounding us is to introduce strict measures and to ensure their effectiveness. Maybe it will be tough at the beginning – but it surely pays.

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