EU calls for smoke-free Europe by 2012
Britain and Ireland have introduced the strictest smoke-free provisions with a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places, on public transport and in workplaces.Brussels -- The European Union commission has called for public places throughout Europe to be smoke-free by 2012 in order to tackle the deadly effects of passive smoking.
"It is my firm belief that each and every European merits full protection from tobacco smoke," said EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou.
"There is a wave of support from the general public and we will work with member states to make this a reality," she added.
Currently, 10 of the 27 EU countries have comprehensive smoke-free laws.
Britain and Ireland have introduced the strictest smoke-free provisions with a complete ban on smoking in enclosed public places, on public transport and in workplaces.
A similar ban is due to come into force in Bulgaria next June.
A recent Eurobarometer poll showed popularity mounting for smoke-free policies, with 84 percent of Europeans supporting smoke-free offices and other indoor workplaces and 77 percent in favour of smoke-free restaurants.
While the figure drops when considering bans in bars and pubs the poll nonetheless showed a majority of 61 percent in favour.
The commission, the EU's executive arm, called for laws throughout Europe to ban smoking on enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport within three years.
It also called for supporting measures such as protecting children, encouraging efforts to give up tobacco use and pictorial warnings on cigarette packets.
Italy, Malta, Sweden, Latvia, Finland, Slovenia, France and the Netherlands have introduced smoke-free legislation allowing for special enclosed smoking rooms.
However, in other EU nations, "citizens and workers are still not fully protected from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces and public places," the commission said.
AFP / Expatica