Bill banning smoking in public places coming

By Vusala Abbasova

Smokers rarely think about the harms that tobacco smoke has not only on their own health, but also the health and wellbeing of the people around them.

If only smokers knew of the danger for non-smokers in secondhand smoke, that is the combination of smoke that is emitted from your cigarette and smoke you breathe out while smoking.

Any amount of secondhand smoke that you have breathed in is dangerous for health.

Furthermore, smoking is disrespectful and rude to people around you, especially for non-smokers.

Most people complain of smokers who blow smoke in their faces, and don’t pay any attention to people around while dancing in the club with a burning cigarette.

Citizens often smoke in open door ways to cafes, buses, trains, and even within close proximity of children. They also throw cigarettes wherever they stand.

Tobacco has become a worldwide problem with more than 1 billion smokers today, and this number is expected to increase to 1.6 billion over the next two decades.

This issue arises from time to time in Azerbaijan but, unfortunately, it is still a pressing question.

Strengthening control in this area, the Azerbaijani government has decided to ban smoking in public places in order to protect the health of its citizens.

The Parliament of Azerbaijan announced the possible solution to this problem near the end of 2016, reported Trend.

The Parliament plans to resolve issues related to the ban on smoking in public places at this year’s autumn session or by the spring session of next year.

Under this new law, smoking will be banned at airports, seaports, railway and bus stations, and in all forms of public transport, including taxis.

In addition, it plans to restrict smoking in movie theaters, indoor sports and concerts venues, in healthcare institutions, and in event and wedding halls. Smoking in the workplace will be allowed only in designated areas.

The current law titled “On Tobacco and Tobacco Products” has been phased in step by step over the past several years since a law on banning smoking in vehicles had been adopted.

The Law On Tobacco and Tobacco Products prohibits the use of tobacco products in educational, health, and culture institutions, as well as in the halls where sports and other events are held.

Furthermore, this law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons less than 18 years old.

However, the country’s residents have gotten used to the situation. About 60 percent of men and up to 10 percent women smoke tobacco in Azerbaijan.

Changes have also been made to the Tax Code of the country, increasing taxes on tobacco product and thus raising prices for tobacco-related goods, according to the Parliament.

Nevertheless, the prices of tobacco products in Azerbaijan are the lowest in the CIS and one of the lowest in the world.

Meanwhile, neighboring countries ban smoking not only in public places, but also in closed spaces. In Turkey, a bill that prohibits smoking in public places was approved in 2006. Three years ago, Russia enforced a similar measure.

Turkmenistan has the world's lowest proportion of smokers at 8 percent of the population, according to the World Health Organization. Due to the ratification of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2011, the country had banned smoking in public places.

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