New Serbian Smoking Ban


The Serbian Parliament last spring passed a public smoking law that went into effect last week. I was surprised at how well restaurants and cafes are enforcing the new law

Serbs love to smoke. According to the Ministry of Health, 1/3 of all adults smoke. but I would say it may even be a bit higher. In the US, according to the CDC (Center of Disease Control) about 17% of adults smoke. I believe this high percentage of smokers in Serbia is the same throughout Eastern Europe. I am not sure how many countries in the Balkans or Eastern Europe have anti-smoking laws. It would be interesting to get some statistics of smoking here and around the world.

The law gives police the power to fine individuals for smoking in prohibited areas (65 dollars) or businesses (13,000 dollars). It also bans smoking in theaters, cinemas, and most importantly, shopping malls. For restaurants, bars, and cafes, it depends on the size of the establishment. If it is too small, a business has to declare smoking or no smoking. Larger buildings must designate a smoking and a non-smoking area.

I say Hurray!!!! That has been one of the annoyances of living in Belgrade, especially in winter. There were so many places that we avoided because of the smoke. After coming home from a social gathering, our clothes were always stinking of cigarette smoke. We ate two great meals at Zodiac and Daco restaurants this weekend. They both had large non-smoking sections with the signs above posted. We also had smoke free experiences in the Usce and Mercator malls. What a difference!

I am sure some businesses do not like the new law. The smoking sections of restaurants that we see has more people than the non-smoking sections.

The nice weather continued this weekend in Belgrade. It was a bit cooler, but still unseasonably warm. I cut the grass, hopefully for the final time on Sunday. We also played with the kids in the yard as you can see below.