Bulgaria - confusion over which public smoking ban is in force..

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June 2, 2010 - June 1, 2010 was slated as the only day in Bulgaria when the full smoking ban, passed by the previous Parliament, would come into effect. (Bulgarian lawmakers voted to ban smoking in all public places from June 2010..)

10 days ago, the current General Assembly revoked the full smoking ban and adopted a more liberal regime to enter into force on June 2, thus leaving the ban effective for just one day. (Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban..)

The change, however, would not be introduced on June 2 either since it has not yet been published in the State Gazette as required.

It remains unclear when the liberal smoking regime would be in place because there isn’t yet a Presidential decree to publish the changes. The only way to adhere to the June 2 deadline is for President Georgi Parvanov to sign the bill Tuesday, June 2nd and its publication in a separate, emergency edition of the State Gazette Wednesday.

But, after the publishing, there is a 3-moth period during which the Council of Ministers must issue there own order specifying the rules for smoking in public spaces.

According to the full smoking ban, which is now in effect, smoking is prohibited Tuesday, June 1st in all indoor public spaces, including restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. The fines range between BGN 50 (31.26 USD) and 100 (62.52 USD) for those lighting a cigarette inside, and increase to BGN 100 to 300 (187.56 USD) for repeat offenders. Restaurant owners face fines of BGN 300 to 500 (312.68 USD) while business will be charged BGN 500 to 1 5000.

Bulgaria ranks second after Greece in the European Union (EU) in terms of number of regular smokers as a percentage of the population, according to a Eurobarometer survey published in March 2009. The proportion of smokers is the highest in Greece (42%), followed by Bulgaria (39%), Latvia (37%), Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia (all 36%) - Survey on Tobacco Analytical report Fieldwork: December 2008
Publication: March, 2009
More girls are using tobacco than boys in Bulgaria, Mexico, New Zealand and Nigeria, shows a new survey of the World Health Organization (WHO) on youth smoking in 151 countries.

Reference: Full Smoking Ban Effective in Bulgaria on Children's Day, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 6/1/2010.

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