On December 14 2011, Bulgaria’s Health Minister Stefan Konstantinov will present to the Cabinet a proposal to ban completely smoking in closed public places, effective from June 1 2012, he said in an interview with Bulgarian National Television (BNT).
Under the current provisions of the law, public establishments must have separate areas for smokers and non-smokers. Representatives of the restaurant business are pushing for a delay of the ban until 2013 or 2014.
"The ministry is fighting for the nation’s health. It is our priority to prevent smoking-related diseases, not struggle to provide better care once these people find themselves in hospital, " Konstantinov told BNT. He said that the Cabinet is not opposed to his proposal because the amount of money lost through health care expenses and reduced life expectancy exceeds many times excise revenues.
Konstantinov said that the number of Bulgarians without medical insurance was no higher than 900 000 and not two million, as some estimates claim.
He said that the official number of medically insured people was 6.5 million out of a population that the latest census put at 7.4 million.