Caterers on banning Smoking in Restaurants: The Draft Law is discriminatory

On the occasion of the Draft Law on a complete ban on smoking in restaurants and all closed facilities in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), the Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs of BiH organized a conference where they expressed dissatisfaction with this draft law.

Aida Feraget, president of the association “Ma kus na me”, addressed the audience, stressing that the goal is to ensure equal rights for all citizens in FBiH, which cannot be achieved with the draft of this law.

“Our only goal is to ensure the same rights for all citizens of FBiH. We do not promote smoking. In FBiH we have a law that prohibits smoking in schools, institutions, and means of public transport and no one has a problem with that. However, we do have a problem with banning smoking in bars, cafes, without prior separation of space for smokers. In BiH, 41 percent of adult smokers live and pay taxes, which is almost a million people, ” told Feraget.

Feraget also emphasized that the proposals of hoteliers and caterers in FBiH strive to find a compromise solution that will not endanger the rights of smokers, but also non-smokers.

“We do not see the need to violate anyone’s rights on any grounds. There are solutions we have proposed and this is not the first time we have encountered this draft law. I discussed the same topic with the authorities from Republika Srpska (RS) and people understood what kind of blow such decisions cause, so they withdraw that law from proceeding. I do not know why the FBiH authorities need to introduce such a rigid law. We support a compromise solution, not a ban. On behalf of smokers, I appeal to deputies to reject the draw of such a law on May 26th and suggest that they create a new draft “, concluded Aida Feraget.

As the President of the Association of Hoteliers and Restaurateurs in BiH, Amir Hadzic, pointed out, the adoption of such a draft would be disastrous for the tourism industry in BiH.

“I am a non-smoker, but I am interested in the tourism industry and what will happen to it at the moment. Do we need a law like this at this time. We need to provide vaccines, not impose something else that will make our life more difficult. The law is so rigid and unenforceable. The government has left the control of law enforcement to employers. We are obliged to warn the person who lights a cigarette and deny him a drink, and then remove him from the facility. Is this state normal, how can we kick someone out of the facility?” stated Hadzic.

Finally, Hadzic told that the law should go in the direction of adjusting the space for smokers and non-smokers.

“The world and Europe recommend that the facilities should be adapted and a compromise needs to be made. Owners of spaces up to 60 square meters can decide to create areas for smokers and non-smokers under certain conditions, which include mandatory signs at the entrance that indicate for which group space is intended. I hope that deputies will have an understanding and that they will not adopt this law. Procure vaccines, open the borders, and create conditions for tourists to come to us, ” Hadzic concluded, writes.


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