Cyprus smoking ban, is it working?

Firstly, I’ll put my cards on the table. I’ve never smoked apart from two experimental efforts, one at the age of 9 and another unsuccessful attempt at 16. However, I was brought up in a house where the ceilings were yellow from smoke and have never found a problem with drinking in pubs where you could cut the smoky atmosphere with a knife. On top of this I believe that people should be allowed the freedom to smoke and that people should also be allowed freedom from smoke.

The EU law now being re-enforced in south Cyprus and echoed in the north, is about smoking in public places. A public place is one in which all people have a right to be, both smokers and non-smokers. If this law was to be enforced in the same way that some UK councils ban alcohol then smoking would even have been banned in the open air. As ridiculous as this sounds, some Hull Councillors have tried to push the ban to include open air smoking.

In the south, GCs are wondering how government Ministers such as health minister Christos Patsalides will cope with the ban. Apparently he has ignored the law up to now and there are doubts that he will be seen smoking on the pavement alongside other government employees. In the north it is even less likely that the ban will be seriously enforced. MarieB, on the north Cyprus Cyprus44 forum reported the following:

“…you might find interesting that I went into Dorana Hotel to get hold of some facts and figures (on New Year’s Day) and seeing people smoking, I asked the manager what they intended to do. He (the Russian manager) was quite adamant that the law applied only to the SOUTH! I could not convince him… the Government is largely at fault as it has sent no notification whatsoever to any hotel or restaurant; there was nothing in the media and nothing on TV, so one might excuse the ignorance of some establishments, and maybe it is up to us to tell them that we KNOW what the law is. Well, I do, cos I made a point of finding out a year ago.”

The consensus in Cyprus seems to be that the smoking ban will be treated the same way as was the ban on using mobile phones while driving. It will be generally ignored by the police and will be flouted by not only government ministers but by the majority of smokers using restaurants and bars. Perhaps not this month, but gradually the smoking ban will be ignored.

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