Proposal to ban several professions from smoking in workplace

The Latvian Medical Association has proposed banning teachers, medics, police and high-ranking officials like the president from smoking in the workplace, reports Latvian Radio June 3.

The proposals were submitted to the Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee, which is currently reviewing amendments to the law governing the sale and use of tobacco and other smokable products.

Under Latvian law, it's illegal to smoke when there are children present; at schools; parks; and shared spaces of apartment buildings. 

The proposal, according to the head of the medical association Pēteris Apinis, would ban officials such as the president, ministers and MPs from smoking in the workplace. 

He said that it aims to prevent people from assuming, erroneously, that smoking is harmless, by way of seeing other people doing it.

"If a teacher smokes, it's a fantastic proposal for all the youngsters to do the same," he said. 

Aija Barča (Greens and Farmers Union), an MP and head of the said Saeima committee, called the proposal "interesting" but said MPs must investigate potential legal hurdles so that there's no chance of the ban going to the Constitutional Court.

MPs have already agreed to ban cigarettes from appearing in plain view at stores, while the proposals in question are to be discussed in another meeting.

The bill, without the provisions banning certain professions from smoking, has been adopted in the first out of three mandatory readings at the Latvian parliament.

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