The Basque Country, now that most of ETA have been arrested / grown up / shot, has turned it’s attention to weightier matters and decide to enact what must be one of Europes most stringent anti-smoking laws.
Describing the ineffectual national law as useless, the regional parliament approved a vicious law yesterday that bans smoking in all public enclosed places, outdoors within areas frequented by children and in the grounds of hospitals or medical centres. “This is a war on tobacco, with the aim of eradicating the practice in the Basque Country” declared the regional Minister for work and social policy, Gemma Zabaleta, who continued to say that “this law is based on EU recommendations and goes far further”.
Smoking in enclosed places, even private, when a minor is present will also be illegal, as will smoking in cars when carrying children.
The law has as one of its aim “the eradication of the practice of presenting smoking as a normal habit to children”, which means adults cannot smoke in front of children in playgrounds, schools or other such places, even outside and round the back of the bike sheds. Or in any area destined for the use of children under the age of 18 (ie concerts, etc).
Fines of between 3,000 and 600,000€ will be liberally handed out.
This regional law is far stricter than the proposed reform of the national law, and will remain in place even when the new national law is approved. Seeing as to how the national law is still bogged down in committee, it could still be a year or so away in any case. The new Basque law will start on the 1st of January 2011.
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