The Slovenia Times

Tobacco Ban Cuts Exposure to Smoke, Fails to Convince Smokers


Coming into force on 5 August 2007, the smoking ban also raised the minimum age for buying cigarettes from 15 to 18. Exceptions to the general ban include open public areas and special indoor smoking rooms.

The ban was targeted at protecting employees from exposure to tobacco smoke and making tobacco products harder to buy for under-18s. Its long-term aims included curbing demand for tobacco products and reducing smoking habits both among the youth as well as the adult population. Another aim was to help people quit smoking.

According to figures from the Public Health Institute (IVZ), the law considerably reduced exposure to smoke. Before the ban, two-thirds of the adult population faced exposure, whereas in 2008 only 50% of adult respondents in a survey reported being exposed to smoke.

The ban however failed to reduce the number of smokers. In the first two years following the ban, the Health Ministry registered a considerable drop in the number of smokers, but the figures recently return to previous levels. Today, about 25% of adults smokes, according to the ministry.

Caterers were the most vocal opponents of the ban. According to figures from the Chamber of Tourism and Catering of Slovenia (TGZ), caterers' revenues were down at least 20% due to the ban.

Over the past five years, health inspectors conducted over 41,000 inspections and issued over EUR 1.4m in tobacco fines. Most of the violations were registered in bars and were linked to smoking indoor or in places that the law considers indoors - terrace, atriums and winter gardens.

But the experts are calling for new measures in the anti-smoking campaign. Helena Koprivnikar from the IVZ says prices of tobacco products should continue to be increased. She also called for a full ban on tobacco advertising and for measures to make tobacco products less accessible.

The ministry is meanwhile drafting changes to the existing legislation to implement a European directive which introduces 14 rotating health messages to be put on tobacco products.


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