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Almost 90% of catering establishments in Ukraine violate anti-smoking legislation related to smoking hookahs

KYIV. March 30 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Some 88% of catering establishments in Ukraine violate anti-tobacco legislation related to smoking hookahs and a ban on smoking hookahs.

The head of the parliamentary committee of the nation’s health, medical care and medical insurance, Mykhailo Radutsky, announced this on his Telegram channel following a roundtable held in the committee on Wednesday.

He said that at the roundtable, a resolution was approved, which, in particular, obliges the Ministry of Health to expedite the approval of a mechanism for checking public catering establishments for compliance with anti-smoking legislation.

Radutsky recalled that in December 2022, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law strengthening anti-tobacco restrictions and banning flavored cigarettes. In addition, its main innovations were equating heating devices to cigarettes, the ban on advertising of smoking devices, the application of a medical warning on the packages of smoking devices, and the increase in the area under it on cigarette packages to 65% of the package area.

In particular, from June 2022, according to the law, a ban on smoking devices for heating, hookahs and e-cigarettes in certain public places, including transport, premises of restaurants, railway stations, educational and work premises and other places of common use was introduced.

“Unfortunately, Ukrainians massively violate the provisions of the law, which came into force in July 2022. Since March 2022, a moratorium on business inspections has been in effect in the country, so it is hard for government bodies to respond to citizens’ complaints. Public monitoring found that 20% of catering establishments violate anti-smoking legislation. At the same time, 80% of Ukrainians generally support toughened restrictions on smokers,” Radutsky wrote.

In addition, he said that “the situation with smoking hookahs is especially critical.”

“According to public monitoring, 88% of establishments in Ukraine violate the law. Among the violators are mostly young people, for whom smoking hookah has become a fashionable habit,” he said.

Radutsky said that since the adoption of the law, there have been several attempts to cancel the introduction of anti-tobacco restrictions.