Ruling party wants to ban smoking

Poland has lately been brimming with news of a possible new bill banning smoking in bars, restaurants and most other indoor public places. Last week the Law and Justice ruling party proposed a bill in parliament to ban smoking in public places in Poland.
According to this project, it would be illegal to smoke in hospitals, schools, universities and workplaces, railway stations, airports, bus stops and around any public transport. The bill would even prohibit smoking in private cars, when a driver is alone in the vehicle. Smoking will only be allowed within a 10-meter radius of designated smoking areas. The restrictive bill will forbid smoking practically everywhere except for one?s own home. 
Those who break the law would pay a fine of up to 100 zloty.
The project will also assume the prohibition of tobacco advertisements and any ?tobacco requisites? or symbols promoting tobacco. Since 2003, Polish law has prohibited smoking in enclosed workplaces with the exception of designated smoking areas.
The question is whether the Polish government will support such a law, so fashionable for Europe, but still difficult for Poland. Politicians may be scared of the voting power of smokers. In Poland the high tax on cigarettes has yet to be implemented and a packet of 20 cigarettes costs only a few euros.  
Also Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said he was wondering if ?such radical restrictions of personal freedom are possible in a democratic state. Democracy is not there to take away people?s freedom.? The PM assured that he would not be supporting the bill.
European laws are becoming increasingly strict for smokers. The European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) prepared a special report on the progress of European countries in implementing anti-smoking legislation. (EPHA is an international not-for-profit association aiming to promote and protect the health interests of all people living in Europe and to strengthen the dialogue between EU institutions, citizens and NGOs in support of healthy public policies.)
The first country to impose an outright ban on smoking in workplaces was Ireland, in March 2004. Since then, smoking has been banned in enclosed premises in Malta, including bars and restaurants (with the exception of designated smoking rooms.) Smoking legislation in Norway (also since 2004), prohibits smoking in bars and restaurants, but allows workplaces to have designated smoking rooms.
Since 1990, employers in Slovakia have been obligated to ban smoking in workplaces with non-smokers.
Italian legislation has prohibited smoking in the workplace since 2005, including bars and restaurants. However, enclosed and separately ventilated rooms are permitted. Since 2004, smoking has been banned all in enclosed premises, except in designated smoking rooms. 
As EPHA reported, Austria plans to pass legislation banning smoking in restaurants by the end of 2007. Anti-smoking legislation was recently passed by the Luxembourg parliament. There will be a total ban on advertising and sponsoring, plus a ban on smoking in certain public places.
Spain prohibited smoking in workplaces as of January 1, 2006. Bars and restaurants larger than 100 square meters are allowed to build separate smoking rooms.
Belgium banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces since January 1, 2006. As of January 1, 2007, Belgium has allowed smoking in restaurants in separate rooms where no food is served. Lithuania has been smoke-free since January 2007. 
France prohibited smoking in public places, including offices and schools, February 1, 2007. In 2008, the ban will extend to restaurants, dance clubs and some bars.
In Bulgaria, smoking has been banned in all enclosed workplaces since January 2005. The Croatian Health Ministry announced in the summer of 2006 that it would pass a new bill against smoking in all public places, including bars and cafes.
The Health Ministry is now focusing on enforcing penalties for existing laws restricting smoking in public. 
Scotland implemented its smoking ban in March 2006. The ban covers all pubs, restaurants, bars, shops, cinemas, offices, hospitals, work vehicles and sports centers.
In Cyprus, smoking is prohibited in all public places, including places of entertainment (restaurants, bars, etc.) in all government buildings, public transport and in private cars carrying any passenger under 16. Also Greece has implemented smoking bans in specific public places, but allow for special smoking areas.
A complete ban on smoking at workplaces has been implemented in The Netherlands. However, it excludes bars and restaurants and permits the use of designated smoking rooms.
In Sweden, most workplaces are smoke-free. All bars, restaurants and nightclubs are also smoke-free. Switzerland imposes partial restrictions on indoor workplaces.
Portugal?s smoking ban does not include bars and restaurants. Smoking is banned in healthcare, education and government facilities, as well as indoor workplaces, offices, theaters and cinemas. In Romania, smoking is banned in all enclosed public places. Bars, restaurants and nightclubs are obliged to mark out smoking and non-smoking areas and ensure that ventilation is installed.
Latvia prohibits smoking in indoor public places and municipalities have the power to prohibit smoking in outdoor public places. Smoking is permitted in bars and restaurants and other public catering establishments, though owners must set up no-smoking rooms.
A public consultation on the new tobacco bill, which had been proposed by the Slovenian Health Ministry, concluded in January 2007.
In April 2007, the Czech Republic Parliament passed an anti-smoking bill that limits smoking in restaurants and other public areas. Northern Ireland?s smoke-free legislation came into effect on April 30, 2007. Smoking is no longer permitted in enclosed public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants.
The Welsh government first voted in favor of a smoking ban in 2003 and the ban on smoking in enclosed public places was introduced on April 2, 2007, three months before the ban in England. Smoking is now banned in most public places, including restaurants, pubs and bars.
Under current legislation in Denmark, smoking is banned only in schools and government buildings open to the public. 
Hungarian regulations regarding smoking in public are very weak when compared to regulations in other European countries, according to WHO.
In England, at 06:00 on July 1, 2007, workplaces and enclosed public places (offices, factories, shops, pubs, bars, restaurants, membership clubs, public transport and work vehicles that are used by more than one person) will become smoke free environments.
As of June 2007, Finland is completely smoke-free in all indoor public places, including bars and restaurants. Iceland went smoke-free on June 1, 2007.
Another one was Estonia, which came under a complete ban on smoking on June 5, 2007 in bars, restaurants, cafes and nightclubs. Smoking will only be permitted in enclosed smoking rooms with a separate ventilation system.
Germany?s federal states agreed on March 22, 2007, to ban smoking in restaurants and pubs, but will allow exemptions for small bars and premises with separate smoking rooms.
This ban would have to be approved by each of the 16 state parliaments before it can be enacted.
On April 27, 2007, the Federal Health Minister and the Federal Consumer Affairs Minister of Germany introduced a bill to ban smoking in buses, trains, taxis, public-transport stations and Federal government buildings as of September 1, 2007. Also the sale of cigarettes will be prohibited to persons under 18.
The ?non-smoking legislation? is very important as the ?Cafe Babel,? a European magazine, alarmed that tobacco consumption in Europe causes the deaths of 650 thousand people every year. Passive smoking figures are also very high: approximately 72,000 Europeans are victims of passive smoking at home and 7,000 at work every year. People who work in pubs, bars and restaurants or nightclubs are particularly at risk with the result of 325 deaths a year — roughly one every day.
At the beginning of 2007 the European Commission released the ?Towards a Non-Smoking Europe: Opinions on the EU Initiative? paper to begin an extensive consultation about the smoking problem.
The results have shown that 88 percent of EU citizens are in favor of banning smoking in workplaces and public places. Let?s hope that soon passive smokers can say ?goodbye cigarettes.?

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