Bulgaria's ruling party steps up anti-smoking war

Bulgaria's ruling party steps up anti-smoking war

Bulgaria's ruling party GERB will take further measures to curtail advertisement for cigarettes and other tobacco products. According to the head of the parliamentary health commission Luchezar Ivanov, a list of locations will be prepared where cigarettes may be advertised in the future, Dnevnik daily reported.However, the new plan envisages that cigarettes will no longer be advertised on billboards, restaurants or near schools - just a few of the locations affected by the future ban."Our aim is to bring legislation in Bulgaria up to a par with that of other European countries. Currently, only Bulgaria and Germany do not have strict anti-cigarette advertising regulations in effect," Ivanov told Dnevnik. He added that the bill is currently being ironed out by GERB MPs and that it should be implemented within two or three months, legislation that may serve as a stepping stone for a future total ban on cigarette advertising in the country.Currently in Bulgaria, it is forbidden to advertise a packet of cigarettes, but it is permitted to advertise the brand of the product, according to doctor Masha Gavrailova, head of the public health care department within the Health Ministry. Cigarette advertising is also banned on television and radio.Only 10 days ago, GERB amended legislation that would have banned youths from visiting public establishments where smoking was allowed during the day but allowed them to visit bars and nightclubs with a guardian. Following a public outcry, on May 21 MPs adopted amendments that also banned youths under the age of 18 from visiting nightclubs and discos.Other notable changes include permitting employees to smoke during working hours, provided it is in a place set up for that purpose. In effect, the provisions extend the existing status quo, which was due to change with the introduction of the ban on smoking in public places.

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