Smoking in restaurants permitted for now

RESTAURANTS AND hotels are to be given time to decide if they wish to allow smoking or not.

The Minister for Health, Correia de Campos, has thrown out the initial legislative proposal to ban tobacco consumption in public places where food and drink are served on cultural grounds.

The move by the health minister was welcomed, not only by catering proprietors on economic grounds, but also members of the health community.

Carlos Perdigão, Vice President of the Portuguese Cardiological Society said the measure was prudent because it opened the way for an interim period, whereby the public could get used to the idea of non-smoking establishments.

Perdigão believes that a watered down version of the law could come into force in early 2007 and would be far more educational than a complete ban, which could prove unworkable.