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Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Italy set to ban smoking in outdoor bars and at bus stops

Health minister to "follow science, not ideology".

Smoking could soon be banned in Italy's outdoor bar areas and at bus stops, according to the contents of a draft bill published by Italian newspaper La Stampa on Sunday.

The proposed crackdown on smoking by the health ministry would cover e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products as well as regular cigarettes.

In addition to outdoor bars, the ban would be extended to parks if in the presence of pregnant women and children, La Stampa reports.

The proposed move, which comes after health minister Orazio Schillaci promised in January to clamp down on smoking and vaping outdoors, was met with criticism by several figures in the right-wing government.

Italy's deputy premier and Lega leader Matteo Salvini wrote on Twitter: "E-cigarettes are helping so many people to give up regular cigarettes," adding: "As an ex-smoker who quit four years ago, the ban on smoking them outdoors seems over the top."

Culture undersecretary Vittorio Sgarbi, known for his outspoken views, told new agency Adnkronos that the proposed ban was reminiscent of "an authoritarian and dictatorial communist regime".

On Tuesday Schillaci told reporters that the proposals were part of a draft that he "had not even seen", stressing that he would "follow science, not ideology" when drawing up smoking laws.

Schillaci also stated: "I reiterate, as a doctor and as a minister, that smoking is bad for you, we all know it and we've known it for years."

Smoking in Italy has been banned in public places including bars, restaurants, night clubs and offices since 2005.

Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
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