In 2010, Serbia passed a law on the protection of the population from exposure to tobacco smoke which prohibits smoking in closed working and public spaces, with an exemption of catering facilities.
However, the new draft law prescribes a total smoking ban in all closed spaces. In order for the ban to take effect in practice, the law needs to be approved by the Serbian government and passed in the National Parliament.
As expected, the public was divided by this proposal – some see it as discrimination of smokers and others as a good health measure.
“We are practically one of the last countries in Europe where smoking is allowed in catering facilities. The law currently in force was originally designed to ban smoking in all public places and the law did achieve a lot. Now is the time to ban smoking in catering facilities as well and we must also think about the health of the catering staff,” says Dr Ana Jovićević from the Serbian Oncology and Radiology Institute.
Although a heavy smoker, writer Jasmina Mihajlović is a proponent of the smoking ban and says:” I have been a smoker since I was fifteen years old, and I am 63 years old. I smoke between 30-40 cigarettes and it’s been like that for over 40 years. Smoke in closed spaces started to bother me about ten years ago and it is a big problem in Serbia. I prefer to smoke outdoors and I think drastic penalties are the only way to prevent people from smoking indoors.”
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