H/T Harley and prog for news from Bulgaria, where a smoking ban came in last June, and a failed attempt to overturn it was made in December. First up:
Six months after the introduction by Bulgaria of a full ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces such as restaurants and bars, and a few weeks after failed attempts to reverse the law, investigations by two television stations have found widespread breaches of the law.
Many restaurants were continuing to break the ban, television station bTV said on January 3 2013, saying that owners of bars and restaurants preferred to pay fines rather than deprive their customers of the chance to smoke.
Between the time that the ban came into effect, June 1 2012, and the end of December, inspectors across Bulgaria have carried out a total of 128 698 inspections.
Fines close to 190 000 leva (about 95 000 euro) have been imposed.
Most of the violations of the ban were in October, November and December 2012 as the cold weather set in. The city with the highest rate of breaches of the smoking ban was the capital, Sofia.
Sounds like Bulgarians – 40% of whom are smokers – are knuckling down like they’re supposed to. Second:
Minor Bulgarian rightist Union of Democratic Forces party has announced it will start a petition for a nationwide referendum on the recently imposed full smoking ban in the country.
“People are concerned about this issue, the issue is of their competence and impacts their everyday lives,” said UDF’s Boris Markov, who has been appointed as the party’s coordinator for the petition.
Third (Google translation):
Resistance of smokers will not stop . This announcement Andrei Slabakov a press conference on the occasion of the BTA start a new civic organization “The National Association of Free” (U.S.).
He said the purpose of the Association is to work against the laws that are written against Bulgarian citizens. Slabakov said that the U.S. will deal with football hooliganism Law and the Law on DHC, but at first will pay attention to the full ban on smoking in public places.
“Act smokers zorlem makes people criminals” firmly Slabakov and added that the main problem is not adult smokers in the absence of prevention among young people under 18.
And finally (in a piece clearly written by an antismoking zealot):
Tobacco-Addicted Bulgarians Ready to Unite in Party
Bulgarians, who are firmly against the ban on smoking in all enclosed public spaces, enforced as of June 1 last year, are bracing up to form a party to defend their rights.
The initiative has been spearheaded by popular movie stars Andrey Slabakov and Djoko Rosic, jazz singer Hilda Kazasyan, opera and pop singer Orlin Goranov, professor Milan Milanov from Sofia emergency hospital Pirogov.
The popular tobacco addicts have already pooled efforts in a civil organization, named “National Association of the Free People”. They warn however they are ready to form a party and vie for MP seats, relying on the support of more than 2 million Bulgarians.
The association plans to hold a new massive rally on February 1 in front of the parliament, aimed to raise awareness of smokers’ rights and the difficulties that small and medium-sized enterprises face after the ban was introduced in cafes, bars and restaurants, regardless of size.
A smokers’ party is an interesting development. But with 40% of Bulgarians smoking, and probably quite a lot of support from sympathetic non-smokers as well (although not antismokers, of course) they could have a pretty big impact.
Professor Milan Milanov sounds like he might be a doctor.
PROF. DR Milanov, chairman of the Committee on Medical Ethics of the Bulgarian Medical Association
That’s him on the right.
Anyway, it seems like Bulgaria’s cultural elite wants to get rid of the smoking ban too. Handy to have a senior doctor on board.
We’re not likely to see anything like that in the UK.