Smoking in public places controversy

news: Smoking in public places controversy

The Ministry of Health is planning to ban smoking in all public places but right-wing CDS party, part of the current coalition government with the PSD, has already announced that it would vote against the law.

Less than a week ago, Deputy Secretary of State to the Ministry of Health, Fernando Leal da Costa, supported that the 2008 legislation should be reviewed, so that smoking could be banned – not just restricted – in all public places.

However, the CDS-PP promptly stated it would object fully to the government’s intentions to change the tobacco law.

CDS-PP MP Hélder Amaral claims that Leal da Costa has done nothing but launch “his New Year’s firework” by reintroducing the subject after one year of silence. He added that “there is a group of parliament members, myself included, that see no need to change the law” and that it represents yet another limitation on consumption.

The tobacco law that came into effect on January 1 2008 has helped to reduce the number of smokers by 5%, according to Health Minister Paulo Macedo, who said more needed to be done to lower the number further.

Amaral went on to say that reducing the number of smokers was not the purpose of the alteration to the law, but rather to protect third-parties from being exposed to passive smoking. The MP believes the current law is currently fulfilling that goal as “today, far fewer people are exposed to second-hand smoke”.

Leal da Costa originally intended that places for public use, such as restaurants, cafés and bars, where there are workers without an option or frequented by children and youngsters, could be free of smoke.