Montenegro on Wednesday introduced a ban on smoking in indoor public and workspaces, with fines of up to 20,000 euros ($22,300), the state broadcaster RTCG reported.
The Montenegrin health ministry has promised to enforce the ban “without compromise,” particularly in cafes and restaurants, in spite of opposition from smokers and business operators, RTCG said, quoting a statement.
A previous law passed in 2013 to curb smoking in public spaces in Montenegro failed because a loophole allowed smoking in institutions that paid a fee for it.
Cafe, bar and restaurant operators had protested that the total ban would cut into their revenue.
Under the new law, which parliament passed unanimously two weeks ago, only casinos are exempted from the ban.
According to data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), 35 per cent of men and 27 per cent of women in Montenegro are smokers.
The average Montenegro citizen consumes 1,100 cigarettes annually, or just under a pack per week per inhabitant, according to the U.S.-based Tobacco Atlas, putting Montenegro right on the global consumption average.
It is far behind regional leaders North Macedonia and Albania, whose average citizens smoke 2.7 and 2.5 packs a week respectively.
The two are ranked fifth and sixth in the world.
Smoking cigarettes affects the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the reproductive system, the skin, and the eyes, and it increases the risk of many different cancers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking cigarettes increases the risk of dying from all causes, not just those linked to tobacco use.
WHO also reported that tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year.
The health agency added that more than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
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