Hospitals breach smoking ban the most
5 August 2005
BRUSSELS — The ban on smoking in public places in Belgium is regularly broken and government inspectors have raised alarm about the lack of no smoking signs.
A recent Health Ministry investigation also found that hospitals and nursing homes are the worst offenders: almost 60 percent of them don’t indicate that smoking is not permitted.
The smoking ban is also breached most often in those institutes, but this may also be due to the fact hospitals and homes are inspected every time a complaint is lodged.
This increases the chance that any breach of the smoking ban is registered, Flemish broadcaster VRT reported on Friday.
Smoking has been banned in public places in Belgium since 15 May 1990.
The ban applies not only to public service offices, but also to public places such as railway stations, town halls and hospitals.
Health Minister Rudy Demotte decided to launch an investigation at the start of this year to determine how the ban is being observed.
Inspectors subsequently checked 1,859 public buildings and found in 40 percent of the locations lacked no smoking signs. Sixty percent of hospitals and nursing homes had no signs.
Cultural institutes scored the best, despite the fact that just one in four did not have no smoking signs, newspaper ‘De Standaard’ reported.
The smoking ban was breached in 10 percent of the buildings checked. Hospitals and nursing homes performed the worst, with the ban being breached at 22 percent of the inspected buildings.
Youth shelters, schools and education institutes observe the smoking ban the most vigorously.
Despite the breaches discovered, the inspectors did not impose fines. Instead, prevention advisors were notified in cases where no smoking signs were absent. The advisors are instructed to take the necessary steps.
“People caught smoking were not fined either. The inspectors gave them a telephone number of Smoke Stop (Rookstop), where you get help to stop smoking,” a Health Ministry spokeswoman said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news