Tuesday, May 29, 2007

AFP: Romania plans smoking ban from 2008

Romania wants to ban smoking in public places from July 2008, Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu said Tuesday.

He told a press conference there would be a five-year transition to a full ban, during which smoking would be confined to specified areas.

The plans were to be put before a meeting of EU health ministers this week in Brussels, Nicolaescu said. "We will argue in favour of a European directive in this direction, which Romania would of course respect."

Bucharest has already taken action to cut tobacco consumption, notably by increasing taxes on cigarettes last year, a move that was "denounced at the time", the minister said.

Nicolaescu presented the results of a national opinion poll by Eurobarometer showing 82.2 percent support for a total ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and in the workplace.

Almost 54 percent were against any exemptions to the ban, although 36.6 percent said they would like to see smoking areas in bars, airports or trains.

Ireland, Italy, Malta, Norway and Spain have banned smoking in bars, restaurants and public places, while Britain and France have also passed laws banning smoking in designated area

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