Croatia - adjusting to new smoking ban..

May 30, 2009 - Croatia now has one of the strictest anti-tobacco laws in the Balkan Region. and not everyone is happy about it. As of Wednesday, May 6, 2009 Croatia began enforcing a ban on smoking in most indoor areas threatening the estimated one-quarter of its population which lights up with stiff fines. (Balkan Countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia.) The anti-tobacco laws echoes standards adopted by the European Union which Croatia hopes to join by 2011. In Croatia, some 32 percent of the 4.4 million inhabitants are smokers, according to survey figures the health ministry cited this month.

Thirty to 40 percent of all adults in the Balkans are inveterate (hard-nosed, long established, deep-rooted) cigarette smokers and World Health Organization (WHO) considers a major cause of premature death.

Zlatko Puntijar, head of the national restaurant association: "Managers are affected by both the economic crisis and the new law," forecasting that some businesses could be threatened with closure at the end of the summer when cooler temperatures force customers inside. Cafes, bars and nightclubs are expected to be the worst - this industry has around 16,000 owners and employees some 100,000 people. The drop in business figures will maybe not be so important for the time being, but in autumn it will certainly be enormous." Puntijar again: "Introducing the smoking ban began 30 years ago in America, three years ago in Austria, while Croatia adopted the smoking ban six months ago. Croatia needs a longer period to adapt and for the citizens to adapt to the new law, as well as the caterers.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce is preparing a Constitutional lawsuit against Croatia, because the same conditions for all caterers have not been introduced. Those objects which do not have terraces, where smoking is allowed, cannot host smokers. Research showed a drop of business with small retail sale businesses between 15 and 20 percent, while 17 percent less bread is sold.

References: Tough anti-smoking measures split Croatiaby Rusmir Smajilhodzic, Agence France Presse (AFP) - Yahoo Health, 5/28/2009; Caterers Will Sue Croatia Over Smoking Ban by Dunja Medaković, javno, 5/28/2009.

Related news briefs: Croatia begins enforcing smoking ban on May 6, 2009..; Croatia cigarette prices to go up April 1, 2009...; Croatia - ban in smoking in public places goes in effect.., Croatia - A ban on smoking went into effect on October 27, 2008.., Croatia Aims at More Stringent Anti-smoking Laws...

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