Bulgarian Parliament’s health committee rejects reversal of smoking ban

Written by on December 13, 2012 in Bulgaria, News - No comments

The Bulgarian Parliament’s health committee, in an 11 to zero vote on December 13 2012, rejected amendments proposing an easing of the ban on smoking in enclosed public places such as restaurants and bars.

The amendments had been proposed by two independent MPs who wanted the country to revert to the system used before June 1 2012, of separate non-smoking and smoking areas in places of entertainment.

Appearing before the committee, Blagoy Ragin, head of the Bulgarian Hotel and Restaurant Association, said that turnover at hotels and restaurants was down 80 to 90 per cent because of the smoking ban. He said that 60 000 Bulgarians had booked New Year holidays in neighbouring Serbia which has no such ban.

In recent days, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, Health Minister Desislava Atanasova and the head of Parliament’s health committee all have spoken out strongly on easing the ban. Atanasova has reiterated that the paramount consideration must be public health, especially given Bulgaria’s extremely high rate of cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Moves to backtrack on the ban have seen protests by rival camps outside Parliament. Those who wanted the ban eased turned out some weeks ago, displaying empty chairs and tables outside the National Assembly to symbolise the business that they said had been lost because of the ban.

On December 13, as the health committee was due to start its meeting, the organisation Bulgaria without Smoke rallied its supporters for a protest in which they walked backwards to signal their opposition to a reversal of the ban.

Separately, meanwhile, the economy committee has been presented with a proposal by a ruling party MP to allow an easing of the ban in the hotel industry.

Related stories:

Protesters walk backwards to oppose backtrack on Bulgaria’s smoking ban: Photo Gallery

Bulgarian PM Borissov firmly against lifting smoking ban, ruling party MPs divided

Bulgarian hoteliers and restaurateurs threaten civil disobedience unless smoking ban laws changed

Battle lines drawn as Bulgaria approaches rethink on smoking ban

Bulgarian PM hints at backtrack on smoking ban but Health Minister stands firm

Large turnout in Bulgarian capital for protest against full smoking ban in restaurants and bars

Bulgaria’s restaurants and bars invest in keeping smokers outdoors warm in the face of winter

Close to 20 000 leva in fines imposed since Bulgaria’s smoking ban came into effect, Health Minister says 

Bulgaria’s smoking ban costing state coffers close to 230M leva, restaurant owners claim

 

 

 

Comments

comments

About the Author

The Sofia Globe - Bulgaria’s fully independent English-language news and features website, run by an all-expatriate team. Sign up to subscribe to sofiaglobe.com's daily bulletin by using the form on the homepage of our website. Please click to support our advertisers!