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New restrictions on way for smoking indoors

Restrictions to come into effect in from January 2023

From January 2023 smoking will only be allowed indoors in places such as restaurants, bars and nightclubs if they have an area equal to or greater than 100 m2 and a minimum ceiling height of three meters.

New rules for smoking in indoor spaces have been set out in a joint decree of the ministries of economy and maritime affairs and health published today in State gazette Diário da República. They will come into effect on January 1, 2023.

The decree establishes tougher rules regarding the maximum allowed capacity, physical separation and partitioning, the installation and technical requirements of ventilation systems and the minimum size of the spaces.

As for the separation of ‘smoking rooms’, the decree determines that the interconnection between the rooms where smoking is allowed and the spaces of the same building where it is not allowed must be made through “an entrance hall with a minimum of 4m2, properly ventilated and with automatic sliding doors at the entrance and exit”.

It also establishes that the opening time of the entrance door of the rooms where smoking is allowed cannot be done simultaneously with the exit door.

In catering or drinking establishments, including those with dance halls, smoking rooms may be set up in customer areas, provided that they have a customer area of 100 m2 or more, and a minimum ceiling height of three metres.

These rooms, including the respective entrance hall, may occupy up to a maximum of 20% of the area intended for customers.

“The maximum number of places where smoking is allowed is defined by the owner of the establishment or by the entities responsible for the establishments and must be in accordance with the fire safety project in buildings and validated” by specialised technicians, Lusa continues.

Smoking rooms should be signposted and have the maximum allowed capacity displayed on the door, in addition to the information that “entry is prohibited to minors under 18 years old” and that “the air quality inside this room may damage the health of its users”.

The smoking rooms must have ventilation systems and a minimum ventilation efficiency of 80% must be guaranteed”.

Before being used for cleaning or maintenance purposes, rooms where smoking is allowed must undergo an air renewal of at least 10 air changes per hour, for a minimum period of one hour, stresses the decree.

In 2007, the current law conditioning smoking in indoor spaces “established standards for the protection of the public from involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke and demands reduction measures related to addiction and cessation of tobacco consumption.

“The experience of applying this law and the need to fully comply with Article 8 of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control forced the government to take measures to restrict the number of places where it is still allowed to create new spaces for smoking, as well as to impose stricter installation conditions and technical requirements of the respective ventilation systems, with the aim of promoting greater health of these spaces,” explains the decree.

But until January 2023 smokers/ catering and drinks establishments can continue as they have been since 2007.

Source: Lusa