Draconian fines proposed

| March 21, 2018

The details of a bill drafted by Armenia’s Ministry of Health that would introduce a ban on smoking in cafés, restaurants and other public places could still be revised, according to a Arka News Agency (ANA) story.

As it stands, the bill would impose heavy fines on people violating it, Aleksandr Bazarchyan, head of the National Health Institute, said yesterday.

The ANA story had it that, ‘according to various estimates’, about 60 percent of Armenia’s men smoke regularly, while the smoking rate among women is three percent. However, in the capital city, Yerevan, about 10 percent of women aged between 30 and 40 are thought to be smokers.

Under the current bill, people caught smoking in cafés, bars, restaurants, government offices and other public places would be fined 250,000 drams ($520). A repeat offense would attract a fine of 500,000 drams ($1,040).

In defending the hefty fines envisaged by the bill, the Ministry said the move was part of a strategy to reduce the number of smokers because tobacco use was the main cause of the country’s high incidence of lung cancer.

According to Bazarchyan, all the proposals the ministry has received will be studied in the next couple of months and the final version of the bill will be submitted to the parliament by the end of the year.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Regulation

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