Bulgaria - justifying why smoking ban won't go into effect on June 1, 2010..

February 26, 2010 - When it is about politics, Bulgaria's parliament is clearly split between right and left. However, when it comes to smokers' rights, the ideological divide vanishes and bitter foes unite to defend them.

An ad hoc coalition fusing the ruling centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) with the main opposition Socialist Party has recently watered down draft legislation, which would completely prohibit smoking in all public establishments, including cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars as from 1 June 2010.

A flexible option was proposed instead under which establishments larger than 100 square metres (119.599 sq yards) would be required to have separate rooms for smokers fitted with ventilation and the owners of smaller businesses would be able to choose between a smoking or non-smoking regime. Prime Minister Boiko Borisov based the compromise on losses a total ban could cause to the tourist industry which has already been bitten by the economic crisis.

"Just two of a total of 27 EU countries have complete smoking bans," argued Lachezar Ivanov, the head of the parliamentary health committee.

Bulgarians, along with Greeks, are the heaviest smokers in the EU. Current legislation in Bulgaria bans smoking in public buildings like state institutions, shops, schools and hospitals. It is still legal to smoke in cafes and restaurants but their owners are required to clearly detach smoking from non-smoking areas.

"Smoking bans are inhuman," said Socialist lawmaker Andrei Pantev. "Smoking is part of the beauty of life."

Reference: Cross-Party Alliance Waters Down Smoking Ban in Bulgaria by Vesselin Zhelev, WAZ.euobserver.com, 2/26/2010.

Bulgaria related news briefs:
Bulgaria - Citigroup chosen as consultant for sale of Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - ruling party may delay smoking ban until 2011..;
Bulgaria - Finance Minister Djankov, "Less Smoking Is Good for Economy..";
Bulgaria - govt to weaken full smoking ban to be effective June 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria - do producers support contraband cigarettes??;
Bulgaria - sale of Bulgartabac coming - selection of a consultant..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
Bulgaria - leadership of tobacco fund to be replaced..;
Bulgaria - illegal trade in cigarettes will reach 40% of total trade in 2010..;
Bulgaria - limits on personal imports of tobacco products from outside the EU..;
Bulgaria - European Commission authorizes payment to tobacco producers for 2009 crop..;
Bulgaria -two cigarette smuggling attempts busted on Serbian border..;
Bulgaria - price of cigarettes increases..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac stays in the economy ministry, sold by middle of 2010, starting price 100,000,000 euro..;
Bulgaria - tobacco producers propose Bulgartabac transfer..;
Bulgaria - government, tobacco growers reach subsidy agreement..;
Bulgaria - start of steps leading to the privatization of the state-owned cigarette monopoly Bulgartabac..;
Bulgaria - police hold smoking protest over lack of bonuses..;
Bulgaria - police busts major cigarette contraband ring..;
Bulgaria - Bulgartabac Holding” will be privatized in 2010..;
Bulgaria - MPs Impose Hefty Fines on Cigarette Sales Violators..;
Bulgartabac Chief - cigarette tax increase as of January 1, 2010..;
Bulgaria Bulgartabac Holding Sells 23% of Shares to Mutual Funds..;
Bulgaria - more than 70% of smokers want to quit..;
Bulgaria - cigarette taxes going up each year except 2011..;
Bulgaria - chair of the economic committee in parliament disapproves of planned raise in excise duties on cigarettes..;
Bulgaria and others - smoking ban, increased cigarette taxes, smuggling..;
Bulgaria - Cigarette excise duties will be increased next year..;
Bulgaria - cigarette contraband, government loses BGN 920M yearly..;
Bulgaria - one third of the tobacco products sold are illicit..;
Bulgaria - new government to speed-up Bulgartabac sale..;
Bulgaria - Fake Victory Light cigarettes..;
Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly may be up for sale..;
Bulgarian lawmakers vote to ban smoking in all publc places from June 2010..; Bulgarian tobacco company Sofia-BT exports increase by 541 percent..;
Does Russia own Bulgaria's tobacco monopoly, Bulgartabac..;
EU percent of adults smokers -highest Greece 1 , Bulgaria 2.. - lowest Slovenia..;
Bulgaria - 1 in 3 youths smoke / half of pregnant women smoke..;
PMI training Bulgarian custom officers to stop cigarette smuggling..;
Philip Morris International (PMI) was truly happy they had been back in the Bulgarian cigarette market for a year and had already had 6.8% of market..;
WHO FCTC Protocol to Prevent Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products Won't Be Completed Until End of 2010..;
WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2008..;
Bulgaria Enters 2009 with Cigarette Prices Hike...
Bulgaria is marking Tuesday, November 10, 2009, the 20th year since the internal coup at the Bulgarian Communist Party which led to the crumbling of the communist regime..

Image - click to enlarge, from krish_shell03's Default Album..