Italy, despite being the second healthiest country in the world next to Singapore according to Bloomberg Rankings, still has a smoking problem, so the government has gone ahead to make it a little tougher for smokers.
A warning sign placed in the Naples playground summarizes one of Italy’s new health laws, and this is its translation:
“No smoking in the presence of infants and children including 12-year-olds, and of pregnant women.”
What would be the consequence of breaking this particular law? A hefty fine of 500 euros ($600). This includes smoking even in the privacy of one’s car—if you are caught with a lit cigarette driving in the presence of young children and pregnant women, then the fine would instantly apply to you.
Another law that concerns the environment, on the other hand, would fine anyone throwing cigarette butts in the street. Fines would amount to 300 euros. Additionally, tobacco sellers would be fined with an even heftier 3,000 euros and the risk of losing their license should they be caught dealing with minors.
These laws come on top of the ban that prohibits smoking in a number of public areas such as schools, offices, restaurants and bars, cinemas, hospitals, and other medical facilities.
Last and definitely not the least, cigarette manufacturers have until May to change their products’ packaging so that it adheres to the new laws. They are to print out photos which take up more than half of the packaging that depict some gruesome scenarios of people suffering extreme afflictions as a result of their smoking habits, like a woman vomiting blood. These will compliment the government warning also on these packs that say, “Smoking Kills.”
An estimate of 83,000 deaths a year are attributed to smoking, and the Italian government plans to make those numbers dwindle considerably. There are about 10.3 million smokers in Italy, and that takes up around 19% of the population.
Could all this trouble justify the aims? Smokers would grumble, but it appears that this could only do well for Italy with a non-smoking family environment for children, cleaner streets that are free of cigarette stub litter, and citizens who enjoy a longer life expectancy if coupled with other healthier habits.
When in Italy, leave that cigarette pack behind. These laws have already taken effect on Tuesday, February 2.
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