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Health authorities report they have imposed hundreds of fines on businesses in the capital that have violated the ban on smoking in public places.
|Smoking ban entered in effect in Albania in 2007 | Photo by: Laurence Currie Clark/ Flickr|
A report published on Tuesday by the task force set up by the Ministry of Health to enforce the smoking ban, 122 businesses were fined only last month in Tirana.
“Fines now cannot be appealed or removed as they were before,” Roland Shuperka, head of the task force, told the media.
Albania adopted tough anti-smoking laws in 2007 with the help of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, OSCE, and WHO. But the habit remains ingrained and many people still light up in bars or on buses.
The law means any individuals or businesses breaching the ban on smoking in public spaces face fines of up to 50,000 Leks (€410).
About 872,000 of the 3 million people in Albania are smokers. Health experts are particularly troubled by the fact that some 15 per cent of teens between 13 and 15 have reportedly taken up smoking. Albanians spend more than €300 million on tobacco products every year.
To keep its reform policy credible for investors, the government must find common ground with the IMF and look for a new arrangement, experts say.