Almost all of Ukraine’s restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and nightclubs are abiding by a new smoke-free law, according to monitoring by civil society groups.
In January 2013, Regional Advocacy Center “LIFE” and partner organizations of the Coalition for a Smoke-Free Ukraine conducted monitoring in 13 regions to evaluate compliance of the law, which prohibits indoor smoking in all hospitality industry premises.
The law, which also prohibits designated smoking areas, came into force on 16 September 2012.
Activists inspected 1,133 venues, 70 percent of them in the evening, and found that 93 percent were compliant with the law. At the same time, they discovered 76 violations, and sent official complaints to the consumer rights protection inspection agency.
Since the implementation date, officials have conducted 110 inspections, finding 32 violations. Fines for businesses contravening the law range from US$125USD to US$1,250.
“The main impression of activists who participated in the monitoring is massive support and appreciation from ordinary waiters and barmen,” says Konstantin Krasovsky, head of the tobacco control sector of the Ukrainian Institute for Strategic Studies.
“The law works not because restaurant owners fear punishment, but because people understand: smoke-free rooms are better for staff and visitors,” he added.
“Ukraine has passed through the first very important stage after implementation,” says Andriy Skipalskyi, Chairman of the Board of LIFE Advocacy center and Coordinator of the Smoke-free Ukraine project. “We have a lot of work to do to make the new norms acceptable and health issues non-negotiable,” he added.
In fact, the tobacco industry has not given up opposing the new law: on 1 February a newly-elected member of Parliament registered a draft law that would allow designated smoking rooms in ‘smoke-free’ areas.
The source of information: The Framewok Conventioon Alliance