16 June 2019 - The ban on smoking in the facilities where food and drink are consumed will decrease the income of the restaurants, said the president of the Montenegrin Tourist Association Žarko Radulović, while the president of the Association of Tourism and Catering Association of the Chamber of Commerce, Dragan Ivančević, believes that the business of catering facilities cannot be compromised, reports RTCG.
On Thursday, the Government passed a new Bill on Restriction on the Use of Tobacco Products, which stipulates a ban on smoking in indoor areas, among other things in parts of cafes, bars and restaurants serving drinks or food.
According to new legal provisions, it will also not be possible for the restaurants to pay a fee for smoking in some part of the facility.
Radulović said he expects the new Bill to be adopted, stating that the provisions are precise and clear. "I think that this time the state will have to persevere in its application, but I think that it is too early to assess whether it will and how this new bill will come to life in practice," Radulović said.
Radulović, who was a supporter of the previous legal solution that stipulates that caterers pay a fee of EUR per square meter, if they want to allow tobacco consumption in catering facilities, said that he now considers this the best compromise solution. However, as he added, in practice this solution was compromised to the extent that much lower income was incurred than it was supposed to be.
"So, unfortunately, by disregarding the solutions we proposed, one of the key arguments for the defence and a special decision that corrects the proposed provisions has erupted," Radulović said, adding that the newly proposed solutions are more rigorous.
Asked about how this legal ban will affect catering facilities, Radulović claims that this will reduce revenues, as was the case everywhere in the world. He expects caterers to disagree with the proposed restrictions. "If we all agreed on something in 2017, and only individuals respected the agreement, I think it will be difficult to maintain such a situation. If we all took the previous law seriously and paid our obligations, I think the negotiating position would be even better and more serious," Radulović said.
As he said, it is not realistic that someone can force people to stop consuming tobacco products by law and fines. Radulović thinks that a drastic increase in the price of a pack of cigarettes is the most effective measure. "This is the only measure that has brought results in other countries, but then other issues arise: socioeconomic policy and various policies, so I do not believe that this measure will be adopted. But let's go with the ban, so we'll see how much progress it will make, but I don’t think this progress will be drastic," concluded Radulović.
Ivančević believes that such a decision by the Government follows European trends, which are characteristic of the democratic and civilized world and hold to the core values - the protection of health and the human environment.
"The decision is good and there should be places where it is possible to consume tobacco products, and where people who do not want to feel the smell of nicotine, where they drink and eat, should be free of tobacco products and all the harmful substances it brings," said Ivančević to the MINA Agency. According to him, it's okay to have rooms that are strictly for smokers. "But people who do not want to be close to those who consume tobacco products should be protected," Ivančević added. The use of cigarettes in rooms where people are staying and consuming some services, he said, is not good for tourism, nor is it a trend with the protection of human health, the environment.
Asked whether he thinks that the state will be persistent in applying the law this time, unlike the previous one, Ivančević said that the country has so far adopted many norms, laws, and rules that were good and on the track of European standards, but that it did not have the strength to implement them.
"The state has a good law, and then there is no power to implement it. We expect that the state will finally find a way to implement those laws and norms that it determines itself," Ivančević said.
He believes that this legal solution cannot particularly jeopardize the business of catering facilities. "Those who propose and pass laws do not have to go in this direction, nor have ambitions to like everyone, but they must protect the public and the general interest primarily," Ivančević concluded.
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