Hungarians must adjust to new anti-smoking ban or pay..

Hungary - coat-of-arms..

August 8, 2010 - Authorities wish to start fining perpetrators who smoke in any of the underpasses or the entrances of Budapest’s underground network after September 1, 2010, now that the new anti-smoking law has been introduced.

Background: The 2003 Hungarian European Union referendum took place on 12 April 2003 to decide whether Hungary should join the European Union (EU). Over 80% of those who voted supported membership and Hungary joined the EU on 1 May 2004.
(Hungarian European Union membership referendum, 2003, From Wikipedia)

According to the WHO, Hungarian regulations regarding smoking in public are very weak when compared to regulations in other European countries. This is due to the availability of cigarettes, as well as the weak regulation on smoking and the lack of political support for strong interventions to control tobacco, despite anti-smoking laws dating from 1999. Hungary ranks first in the world for rates of lung cancer in both genders, as well as for mouth cancer. (Hungary, European Public Health Alliance)
Anyone caught huffing and puffing the tobacco plant can expect to dig deep into their pockets to pay a whopping penalty of HUF 30,000 (142.39 USD). The Budapest Public Area Supervision (Fovarosi Kozterulet-felugyeloseg) is responsible for catching and fining unlawful smokers.

The Hungarian authorities regret that they will not be generating more revenues from cigarette sales, but claim that there is nothing they can do as Hungary’s accession to the European Union includes adopting silly European laws that ban smoking in various public spots, like bus stops, work places, pubs and restaurants. In the UK the British Government implemented similar laws banning smoking in public places, including pubs.

This resulted in the closure of 50% of Britain’s pubs and the vendetta of smokers buying an increasing amount of smuggled cigarettes and packs of quality loose tobacco originating from eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Tough luck for the central budget as most heavy smokers are not paying excise tax to the British government for these.

England - ban on public smoking results in a fall in heart attack by 10%...

Reference: Smoking is fine? by Tamas S. Kiss, The Budapest Report, 8/7/2010.