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Bulgaria to ban smoking in indoor public spaces

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria, where more than a third of adults smoke, plans to ban smoking in indoor public spaces from June 1, 2012, the government said on Wednesday.

The ban, which has to be approved by parliament, would also forbid smoking outside of nurseries, kindergartens and schools.

The European Union poorest member is the country with the second highest tobacco consumption in the bloc (39 percent of the adult population smoke) after Greece, a 2010 Eurobarometer survey shows. Almost one in three 13-15 year-olds is a also smoker.

The Balkan country has already banned smoking in hospitals, offices and on public transport and also requires restaurant and bar owners to designate smoking and non-smoking areas, but the measures have been widely ignored.

The ruling centre-right GERB party had previously opposed a ban on smoking indoors in public places, saying it would hurt the tourism industry in the Black Sea country in times of economic crisis.

According to a poll carried out by the health ministry, some 63 percent of the Bulgarians favor a ban on smoking indoors in public places.

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