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No smoking law is working this time in Albania

No smoking law is working this time in Albania
Tirana, 3 June 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency

In 2007, when a repeated effort was made to introduce the no smoking law, the law was complied with in a rigorous way for two weeks.

Immediately after this, everything went back to the same situation as before and all bars said “No” to the no smoking law. This law was introduced once again at the end of last summer, but this time, the previous episode was not repeated and the law is being applied almost in full.

World Health Organization has noted this and says that it’s satisfied that the no smoking law is being applied.

Regional director of the World Health Organization for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab has sent a letter to the Albanian Minister of Health, Ilir Beqaj, where she expresses the gratitude of WHO for the application of the no smoking law in public spaces.

“I have the honor to offer you the prize of the World Day without Smoking, as a sign of appreciation for Albania’s energetic efforts under your leadership and wisdom in the fight against the epidemic of smoking and to protect  public health”, reads the letter that minister Beqaj has received from Mrs. Jakab.

Regional director of the World Health Organization for Europe, Zsuzsanna Jakab also says that the application of this law is the foundation stone for the health of the population.

“Albania has ratified WHO convention on smoking in 2006, but your involvement was a foundation stone in putting the health of the population above everything else along with the future of society. In the same year, a new law was adopted to prevent smoking in public spaces. Unfortunately, the application of this law was weak due to the lack of strong political will and the right leadership”, Jakab says.

According to her, there’s currently “great commitment to enforce the application of the convention”.

“If the member countries do not take urgent measures, smoking may claim 8 million lives until 2030 on a world level. To stop this catastrophe of public health, there must be engagement and commitment”, says Mrs. Jakab.

In general, the application of the no smoking law has been positive and has been applied throughout the entire territory of Albania.

However, there are cases of smoking in several public offices. Cases of smoking have also been identified in several bars, especially those which are far from urban areas.

In the night hours, many bars allow smoking, in an effort to reduce the significant drop of profits as a result of the application of the no smoking law.

This law, which was approved 9 years ago, was amended last year, fining the bar where a person is allowed to smoke with 2200 Euros and the person caught smoking with 350 Euros. These drastic measures seem to have made people reluctant in breaking the law. Health State Inspectorate continues to conduct inspections and is often issuing fines for violations. /ibna/

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