Expatica news

Belgians back restaurant smoking ban

22 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Fifty-eight percent of Belgians are in favour of a total ban on smoking in restaurants and 49 percent would extend this to cafes.

The revelation comes after an independent poll of 1070 people was conducted in August.

The poll was commissioned by the Belgian fund against cancer, which is strongly in favour of a smoking ban in public places.

Belgian law already stipulates that any restaurant or cafe over 50 square metres must have a designated no-smoking area.

Smaller establishments are required to have adequate ventilation.

But in 40 percent of cases, the rules are not respected.

Marked differences in opinion can be found across the various regions in Belgium.

Around 75 percent of Brussels-dwellers would like to see a smoking ban in cafes, with 65 percent of wallonians of the same opinion.

But this compares to only 36 percent of those surveyed in Flanders.

Only 47 percent of Flemish people want a smoking ban in restaurants, compared to 73 percent of French-speakers and 82 percent of people living in Brussels.

Two thirds of non-smokers are uncomfortable with smoke, with 24.6 percent of them saying the are “very uncomfortable.”

Once again, the statistics show Wallonians to be more tolerant, with 60 percent saying they are disturbed by smoking, compared to 77 percent in Wallonia and 70 percent in Brussels.

According to the Belgian federation against cancer, passive smokers have a 15 to 30 percent chance of suffering from lung cancer and a 25 to 35 percent chance of having heart problems.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news