The government on November 6 approved an amendment to the Non-Smokers Protection Act which doesn't introduce a complete ban on smoking in bars and restaurants as was originally planned, it was announced on November 6.
Instead, the Cabinet accepted the recommendations of the Finance and Economy Ministries that bars and restaurants will have to provide non-smoking areas located near the entrance. If such areas can't be created, smoking will have to be banned completely. Owners of bars and restaurants who don't abide by this legislation will be fined up to Sk100,000 (€3,320) or their establishment could be shut down.
Smoking will be completely prohibited in places such as school cafeterias. Cigarette-vending machines will be banned as of next year as well. Selling cigarettes to minors will be penalised with fines of Sk100,000, while those caught smoking at bus, tram and trolleybus stops will be fined Sk1,000 (€33). If legal proceedings are launched in these cases, the violator could receive a fine of up to Sk10,000 (€330). It is estimated that 62 percent of people in Slovakia are non-smokers. The number of adult smokers is falling, but smoking among children is on the rise. People in Slovakia most often begin smoking at the age of 15, but the number of smokers younger than 10 years is also increasing.
Approximately 650,000 people in Europe die each year of smoking-related illnesses, while almost 80,000 Europeans die of second-hand smoke. It is estimated that around one-quarter of all cancer-related deaths in Europe are caused by smoking, and that 15 percent of all deaths are connected to the habit. Globally, 4-5 million people die each year of diseases linked to smoking. This means someone dies of a smoking-related disease every 10 seconds. Another 13 million people suffer from chronic diseases caused by second-hand smoke. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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