Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Strict Smoking Ban Goes into Effect in Serbia; People Can Be fined $65, Businesses Much More

A strict law against smoking in the workplace and public places goes into effect in Serbia today (November 10, 2010) at midnight, according to the Earth Times website.

The law was passed six months ago, but allowed for a six-month grace period.

Accustomed to an almost unrestricted enjoyment of tobacco, many Serbian smokers have voiced outrage over what they say is a limitation of their rights.

The law does allow for separate spaces for smoking, provided they are isolated from non-smoking areas and have proper ventilation.

According to the Serbian Health Ministry, a third of the population in Serbia smokes regularly. The figures may really be higher, as many minors also smoke, but covertly.

The new law provides steep fines for violations. A smoker caught breaking the law faces a fine of 5,000 dinars (65 dollars) -- roughly one-sixth of an average Serbian wage. A business can be fined from 500,000 to one million dinars.

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