December 21, 2010 - Bulgaria has one of the highest smokers rates in the EU at some 39% of people declaring themselves daily smokers, topped only by Greece at 42%.
The Health Ministry further informs that despite the fact the order is effective beginning December 19, the checks of health inspectors for violations will begin after the Holidays, on January 3, 2011. The postponing of the checks gives an opportunity to owners of restaurants, coffee shops and bars to take advantage of the 2-week gratis period and provide the necessary walls, tight-closing doors and good ventilation equipment. The requirements will affect all smoking spaces inside commercial and administrative buildings, railroad stations and airports as well.
Owners of coffee shops and restaurants with less than 50 square meters have the right to decide themselves if the establishment will be a smoking or entirely non-smoking space. In case smoking is allowed, individuals under the age of 18 would not be admitted as they are banned from smoking in all indoors spaces.
In larger establishments, at least 50% of the space must be dedicated to non-smokers.
In night clubs, smoking will be allowed at all times regardless of how large they are. Open-space coffee shops and restaurants inside shopping malls are becoming non-smoking facilities.
Owners face fines for inadequate ventilation and lack of signs designating the non-smoking sections and the smoking ban for those under 18.
Bulgaria - smoking ban beginning January 1, 2011 - do they know which smoking ban applies??
Bulgaria - WHO upset with Bulgaria's weakened smoking ban...
Fines for owners range from BGN 500 (334.80 USD) to BGN 10,000 (6,694.87 USD). Individuals, who violate the ban, would also face fines, but only if they agree to provide their ID card.
References: Public Space Smoking Ban Checks in Bulgaria to Begin January, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency), 12/21/2010; Public Space Smoking Ban Becomes Effective in Bulgaria, Novinite.com (Sofia News Agency) 12/19/2010.
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Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgaria;