Smokers face new fines

STARTING today drivers caught by police smoking with a minor on board should expect to pay a £30 fine, according to a law passed by the House yesterday.

According to the new legislation, which coincides with World No-Smoking day, smoking is prohibited in private vehicles when there are children under 16 on board.

Violators face a spot fine of £30 or prison under certain conditions.

The House also expanded the term “smoking-free area” to include more public areas where people work or frequent.

The law further obliges employers to take protective measures for non-smoking staff while the House Health Committee succeeded in adding a special provision stipulating jail term together with the fine when the law is violated.

A provision concerning banning smoking in private vehicles with pregnant women on board was removed after long discussions.

House Health Committee Chairman Antonis Karas urged the government to submit the necessary legislation as soon as possible, which bans pregnant women from smoking as well as imposing spot fines for smoking in public vehicles and areas.

The plenum also decided by majority vote, after a long discussion, to ban the advertising of tobacco products on billboards and the printed press.

The provision however would take effect on June 1, 2003, giving ample time for current contracts to expire and the press to make their own arrangements based on the new developments.