Stop: non-smoking places
The new law forbids Ukrainians to smoke in all facilities (including housekeeping area) of eating places. It means clubs, bars, restaurants, pubs, kebabs, canteens or any other place, which serves at least chips, will ebcoem free of tobacco smoke.
Moreover, Ukrainians do not have a right to smoke in elevators and payphones; healthcare and educational institutions; playgrounds; communal entrance hallways and underground crosswalks; public transport (including transport of international traffic); culture establishments; sports ground, stadiums and indoor and outdoor sport facilities. From now on football fans cannot smoke even during a match.
According to lawyer Taras Shevchenko, this bans applies to all types of cigarettes, including electronic cigarettes and water pipes. In fact, the law does not speak about cigarettes in particular, but about tobacco products in general, which includes smoking pipes and cigars.
Moreover, the new law cancels the norm, which stipulates that all public eating places must divide smoking and non-smoking areas in the ratio 50:50.
At the same time, according to the lawyer, it is still allowed to smoke in outdoor eating areas, balconies and open verandas, meaning the ban covers only indoor premises.
However, there is a loophole in the law. There is a norm, which stipulates that "the owner, authorized representatives or leaseholders of premises in question must ban smoking indoors or equip a special area for smoking with extraction ventilation and place visual information about such areas as well as health warnings."
The law does not specify the characteristics of smoking areas, meaning owners can interpret this norm as they see fit. However, "not equipping special area for smoking with extraction ventilation and not placing visual information, provided by the article 152 of the Law, is penalized with 3400 hryvnais of fine." And this is not the only fine, stipulated by the new law.
In order to make Ukrainians stop smoking in restaurants the government introduces an administrative responsibility in the form of fines.
"Ignoring the ban on smoking in public places is penalized by the fine in the amount from one thousand to ten thousand hryvnias," the law says. Well, one cigarette definitely does not cost ten thousand hryvnias... Moreover, not only the smoker but also the owner of the establishment will have to pay the same fine.
However, the law does not specify who must impose the fine and define its amount.
There is also a fine for "provocation", meaning placing ashtrays or not taking measures to impede smoking in unauthorized areas. The amount of fine varies from one thousand to ten thousand hryvnias. Hence, from now on, bar owners can be forced to pay even for ashtrays traditionally placed on bar tables indoors. This norm does not apply to outdoor eating areas, though.
According to the authors of the law, with this ban they want to:
- protect workers of catering industry from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke at work;
- protect non-smoking visitors of public eating places from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke while eating;
- protect visitors of stadiums, sports grounds, clubs and athletics classes from involuntary and harmful exposure to secondary tobacco smoke.
Well, within the time we will see how it will work in practice. Maybe, police raids will not be necessary, as neither businessmen nor consumers want to pay a heavy fine for a small cigarette.
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