The ban on smoking in enclosed public places that came into effect in Bulgaria on June 1 2012 has not led to a significant reduction in the number of people who smoke, according to a poll by the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion.
The survey was done among more than 1000 adults in 86 different cities and towns in Bulgaria between June 27 and July 3 and was aimed at assessing the results of the ban, which outlaws smoking in enclosed public places including restaurants and bars.
According to the survey, only about three per cent of those polled said that they had given up after the smoking ban. Most of those who stopped smoking were in the 30 to 39 age group.
Seventy-four per cent said that they were smoking as much as they had before the ban was introduced. A fifth, mainly made up of people in Bulgaria’s capital citySofia, said that they had cut down since the ban on smoking in enclosed public places came into effect.
Seventy-nine per cent of smokers said that they preferred to visit places that had outdoor spaces where they could smoke. Forty-one per cent said that they went outdoors to smoke while 29 per cent said that they preferred not to smoke in an indoor entertainment establishment, according to the poll, as quoted by local news agency Focus.
Fifteen per cent of smokers said that they had no objection to the new law.
Currently, 34 per cent of adult Bulgarians smoke, the survey found. The heaviest smokers, according to the National Centre for the Study of Public Opinion, were men aged 30 to 59 and members of Bulgaria’s Roma population.
Forty-six per cent of those polled said that they had “never” smoked a cigarette. These were mainly women and the elderly.
A fifth of those polled were former smokers, mainly men and people aged 40 to 49.
Forty-three per cent of smokers said that they would give up only if they could no longer afford to buy cigarettes. These were mostly people aged 30 to 39, people with low levels of education, residents of small towns and villages and people who were poor, the survey said.
In Bulgaria, the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes ranges from about four to five leva (two to 2.50 euro).
About 37 per cent of those polled said that they would stop smoking if they had serious health problems. This group was mainly women, the elderly, people were relatively well-off and residents ofSofiaand the capital city’s surrounds.
Seventeen per cent said that a decision to stop smoking would not be connected to financial or health reasons.
(Photo: amr safey/sxc.hu)