Poland - lower house of parliament (Sejm) will vote Friday, February 12th on smoking ban..

Sejm of the Republic of Poland

February 11, 2010 - Poland’s lower house of parliament (Sejm) is hotly debating a ban on smoking in all work environments and public places.

The restrictive regulations have been forced through by the parliamentary health commission, aimed at cutting disease from second-hand smoke. Smokers and opponents of the law are accusing MPs of trying to create a ‘nanny state.’

Tobacco smoking has become one of the most important death factors in Poland. Every year about fifty thousand of Poles die of premature death from post smoking illnesses such as lung cancer or heart attack. 47% of Polish men and 23 % of Polish women over sixteen are addicted to nicotine.

The plan to make smoking illegal in restaurants, pubs and disco clubs prompted especially energetic protests from owners and patrons. A survey among 600 restaurant owners, conducted by OBOP pollsters, shows that over a half of them are worried by expected decline in business. But, slightly over 40 percent do not expect any changes, while 3 percent think that smoke free restaurants and pubs will attract more customers. Owners want to be able to decide themselves whether their venue will or will not be smoke free.

Poles seem to share the view of concerned restaurant owners. Though 70 percent of them support a total smoking ban in public places (excluding restaurants and pubs), 90 percent want separate places for smokers to exist.

The house will vote decidedly on the smoking ban on Friday. (kk/mmj)

Background: Democracy and Health: Tobacco Control in Poland, Witold Zaton’ski, 4/14/03.

Reference: Poland to ban cigarette smoking in public?, the news.pl, 2/10/2010; Polish Government To Limit Smoking In Poland, Victoria Ziarkowski, - Editor, Freelance Writer, Translator, Travel Writer, The Outlook, 1/10/2010.

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