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Italy moves to widen smoking ban

The Local · 12 Jan 2015, 10:00

Published: 12 Jan 2015 10:00 GMT+01:00

Ten years after smoking was stubbed out in indoor public places, Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said further restrictions on smokers are being explored.

People could also be banned from smoking in cars, especially when children are on board, La Repubblica reported.

"Restrictions will be narrowed further," Lorenzin was quoted in the newspaper as saying.

"We’ll begin with films and cars with children in board, and then we’ll assess eventual new measures. It’s a subject to be explored, and will eventually lead to a debate."

On January 10th 2005, Italy became the third country in Europe, after Ireland and Norway, to bring in a smoking ban in indoor public places including bars, cafes and nightclubs.

The move was not without protest but since the so-called Sirchia Law was introduced, the number of smokers in Italy has fallen from 23.8 percent to 19.5 percent, according to figures from Istat, the national statistics agency.

The country also recently banned smoking in outdoor spaces at schools while the minimum age to buy cigarettes was raised to 18.

There are currently 11 million smokers in the country, while almost 72,000 deaths a year are related to smoking, according to research from the University of Turin published early last year.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile, fifteen percent of road accidents are caused by the distraction of drivers while smoking, Carlo Rienzi, the president of the consumers' association, Codacons, was quoted in Corriere as saying.

Lorenzin added that anti-smoking campaigns should be mostly aimed at young people, in order to prevent them from falling into the lifetime “vice” of smoking. 

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