Poland - lower house weakens smoking ban..

March 10, 2010 - Back on February 15, 2010 we were disappointed when the full parliament sent smoking ban bill back to committee to weaken the bill. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) inspectors slammed Poland for its ineffective anti-smoking campaigns, half-hearted legislation and low priced cigarettes. (WHO slams Poland’s fight against smoking, New Poland Expres (NPE), 11/6/2009.

The lower house of parliament, the Sejm, has voted for a liberal amendment to a bill banning tobacco smoking in public places, according to a Polskie Radio story.

The bill, which has been passed to the Senate, makes provision for accommodating smokers in a wide range of public places.

The vote in the Sejm, which was carried by 217 votes to 165, with 48 abstentions, came as a shock to the parliamentary health committee, which had recommended a total ban on tobacco smoking in public.

Under the amended bill, it would be possible for small restaurants and pubs to decide whether to ban tobacco smoking or not. And in premises of more than 100 square meters, separate smoking areas would have to be provided. Smoking rooms would be available also in schools, universities, hospitals, and workplaces.

The bill would not prohibit the sale of e-cigarettes.

Grzegorz Dolniak, the deputy head of the Civic Platform in the Sejm, said after the vote that a complete ban would be a “dead law” and probably unenforceable. “It is necessary to preserve common sense and also give a chance to non-smokers who do not want to be exposed to passive smoking.”

Reference: MPs stub out complete smoking ban, the news.pl, 3/5/2010.

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