From 10 January it will be illegal to smoke in public places in Italy. Restaurants and bars will only be allowed to let customers smoke in specifically defined, enclosed areas, with strictly controlled ventilation systems. Many restaurant and bar owners are unhappy about the ruling, particularly those who only have one room for their customers. They are asking that the application of the new law be delayed by six months to allow them time to prepare, otherwise they are threatening to go to the appeals court to have the law overturned. The minister for health, Girolamo Sirchia, is refusing to bow to the pressure, which he believes is coming indirectly from those with interests in the tobacco trade. In the meantime support for the new law is coming from other directions. Codacons, an association for environmental and consumer rights, and the Lega anti-tumore are launching a campaign for a new law which would make it illegal to smoke and drive.
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