Croatian coffee shop owners looking for break from smoking ban....

July 5, 2009 - On May 6, 2009, the Croatian government blew its whistle and put a big stop sign to smoking. As the law stipulates - those who are caught smoking in an indoor public place shall be slapped with 1000 Kuna (198.93USD, 136.51EUR) fine for smoker and 15,000 Kuna (2,983.89USD, 2,047.68EUR) for business owner to ensure that Croatian public knows that the government means business this time (no pun intended.) Since the Croatian government guards public places keenly watching for smokers who consist of more than half of the coffee shops' costumers started to wane their regular visits to coffee shops for their daily fresh espresso and cigarette ritual.

During the first month after the law was strictly enforced, the once smoke filled coffee shops are not only devoid of smoke but with customers as well. It's an awful scenario to see coffee shops with empty seats throughout the day.
The owners' petition to establish categories among coffee shops whether smoking or non-smoking has already reached the government. Whether the government considers it seriously or flexes its muscles or plays arm wrestling, the response to their plea is well much anticipated.

In the meantime, coffee buffs continue to sip their hot espresso and puffs their cigarettes on warm sunny days in open air terraces and enjoying the feeling while it lasts.

Reference: Croatia's Smoking Ban Takes Off and Takes Ashtrays Away, Joy Avelino-Filipovic, American Chronicle, 6/30/2009.

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