Bulgaria collects 281 300 leva in six months from fines for breaking smoking ban

About 281 300 leva were collected in six months from fines for breaking Bulgaria’s ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces such as restaurants and bars, according the Ministry of Health.

The ministry said that in six months, about 900 breaches of the ban were caught in pubs and playgrounds, daily Sega reported on September 23 2014.

Records showed that 485 citations had been issued, meaning that the average fine was 580 leva.

The stricter anti-smoking law that came into effect in Bulgaria in June 2012 provides for fines of 300 to 500 leva (about 150 to 250 euro) for smoking in enclosed public places, with fines for second offences ranging from 500 to 1000 leva.

For a sole trader, the fine is 1000 to 1500 leva, for second offences 1500 to 3000 leva. For juristic persons, the fines are 3000 to 5000 leva, and 5000 to 10 000 leva for second offences.

According to the Health Ministry, there was a special focus from April 1 to May 30 on checking whether the ban on smoking in children’s playground was being respected. More than 4000 playgrounds were checked – but only three fines and 271 citations issued, even though breaking the ban is commonplace.

From June 2012 to December 5 2013, inspections were carried out at 306 047 places. Fines totalling 793 150 leva were issued.

In June 2013, the Green Initiatives association sent the authorities a list of establishments – restaurants, bars and discos – that were not complying with the restrictions. Forty-six of these were in Sofia. But in spite of repeated fines imposed on managers, there continued to be routine breaches of the law banning lighting up.

On September 12 to 18 2014, health inspectors checked 921 places in Sofia, including 21 eating places, 153 kindergartens, 128 hospitals and 200 outpatient care facilities, 53 pharmacies, as well as other places covered by the law. Surprisingly, no violations of the law were found.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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