Although the inspection will only be able to penalize citizens and legal entities for smoking indoors in just a month, the use of cigarettes was banned in many restaurants and the ashtrays were removed from the tables on Wednesday.
In the cafes and restaurants in Podgorica that “Vijesti” visited, no one used tobacco products.
The owners of the restaurants said they were considering ways to retain smokers. However, more caterers praised the adoption of a new law that explicitly bans smoking in closed workplaces and public places.
Jovan Lausevic from Podgorica's café “Scottish Pub”, told “Vijesti” that he supports the new law and that he sincerely hopes that everyone would abide by it.
Although enforcement of the Tobacco Restrictions Law began on Wednesday, the inspection did not control whether there was any smoking indoors, both public and work.
"The entities have a legal deadline of 30 days to adjust the business to the new law, so the inspection will begin to control the entities after this deadline," said the Inspection Directorate.
It's all due to the health
The Ministry of Health said that the aim of the law is not to punish and collect revenue on the basis of penalties, but to protect the health of all citizens.
The General Director of the Directorate for International Cooperation and Harmonization of Regulations in the Ministry, Sladjana Pavlovic, said that the essence of the law is that it is forbidden to consume tobacco products in closed public and workspaces.
"What has been the biggest interest in the past few days is the catering facilities and the possibility of consuming tobacco products in them. Namely, it is strictly forbidden to smoke in the facilities or parts of restaurants, cafes, restaurants, where food and drink are served,” Pavlovic emphasized.
She said the owner could designate a special part of the space where tobacco products would be consumed exclusively.
She recalled that the law stipulates the obligation to designate the room as a smoking area, a minimum area of ten square meters, and a maximum surface area compared to the entire workspace - a maximum of 20 percent of the workspace.
"This room must be isolated so that no smoke cannot flow into the rest of the area and must not be intended for passage to other rooms. The room in question must also be equipped with ventilation devices, ashtrays, fire extinguishers, air purifiers and the like," Pavlovic said, noting that in the room will not be allowed to serve drinks or food.
Europe wants smoke-free countries
Montenegro is the record holder in Europe for the number of smokers, as tobacco is consumed by as much as 34.5 percent of the adult population. Another 18 percent of citizens used to smoke cigarettes during their lifetime.
Every year, 400 people get lung cancer, and over 95 percent of these cases occur as a result of smoking.
The latest European Commission progress report states that Montenegro should ensure further alignment with the European Union (EU) acquis in the field of health protection, in particular with those related to tobacco control.
The most stringent laws in Europe regarding the ban on smoking are in the UK, Ireland, Greece, Bulgaria, and Spain.
Consumption of cigarettes in restaurants and bars is banned in Italy, Norway, and Lithuania.
At its last summer session, the Austrian Parliament, just like the Montenegrin, adopted a decision on the ban of smoking in all catering establishments, which will be applied from 1 November.
Sweden began applying a stricter law at the end of June compared to the earlier one in 2005 when smoking in bars and restaurants was banned. In that country, it is now forbidden to smoke outdoors in some public places, such as playgrounds and cafe terraces.
Serbia is drafting the same law, in Croatia smoking zones in cafes
When it comes to the region, Serbia follows the instructions of the World Health Organization and this year the Ministry of Health will send to the Government a law that completely prohibits smoking in closed public and workspaces.
Bosnia and Herzegovina have not yet adopted a ban on smoking in cafes, restaurants and workplaces. Croatia, an EU member state, also bans smoking in closed public spaces.
However, catering establishments that serve only drinks and which cannot meet the requirements for the construction of a special smoking room may also have a smoking area, or part of a café where tobacco is allowed to be used.
Albania has a ban on smoking in closed facilities.
Text by Ana Komatina, on August 15th, 2019, read more at Vijesti