Italy's Health Ministry Plans to Extend Smoking Ban

Fri, 01/16/2015 - 02:00

Italy’s Health Ministry has announced plans to extend the smoking ban to public parks, stadiums and beaches, as well as on cars with children on board and in movies and on TV if cigarettes appear too often.

Right this year, Italy marks the 10th anniversary of the Sirchia law, which banned smoking inside public places. In other countries, like the U.S., several outdoor public places have been off limits to cigarettes for some time and Italy’s Health Ministry is looking to follow suit. Recently, a measure has been approved to ban smoking outside of schools.

“Further limitations will be implemented, starting with films and cars with minors,” Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said. “Smoking kills, we all need to be aware of this. It is extremely important to act in a way to discourage young people from falling into the habit.”

The initiatives mentioned above have been successful in reducing the numbers of smokers in other countries, the Ministry affirms. In the ten years since the Sirchia law was implemented, the number of smokers in Italy has decreased from 23.8% to 19.5%, according to National Institute for Statistics Istat. Meanwhile, the sale of tobacco products has dropped by about 25%. However, between 2007 and 2013, Italy fell from 8th to 15th place in the ranking of European countries engaged in tobacco control.

Clearly there is more work to do, the Ministry’s plans seem to be a step in the right direction.