The Parliament adopted the aggravation of the Act on the protection of non-smokers on 26 April 2011.
As a consequence of the expected measure Hungary enters into the group of countries having total smoking ban in all enclosed public places.
The ban applies to all workplace and hospitality venues including public places, places of public entertainment, pubs, bars, public transport, bus stops, underpasses used by passers-by, play-grounds and 5 meters around them. The only exceptions are prisons and psychiatric institutes.
After coming into force on 01 January 2012 there will be a three months grace period until 01 April 2012, as of which date offenders will be fined. With this aggravation Hungary comes up to the health political, professional expectations of the EU and WHO and substantially decreases the smoking related public health and economic burden as well.
Only the suitable regulation on protection of non smokers and implementation of effective tobacco prevention programs for children and youth in national level can decrease the burden caused by tobacco smoke exposition.
Aggravation of tobacco control regulation should be realized step-by-step. First step is to make restaurants smoke free, then the ban should be extended for bars and pubs one or two years later.
A ban can be successful, if the monitoring is effective and successful. Thus the strengthening of monitoring system of the public health authorities, education of inspectors, development of legal conditions, standardization of technical part of monitoring process such as preparation of standardized protocol, development of methodology for further data analysis to select concrete problems are essential.
Professional development of the compliance with the Act on the protection of non-smokers should be realized on the basis of the following points:
1. more information is needed about penalties concerning employees and employers.
2. data selected by causes of penalty could be useful, categories of selection should be in accordance with the main part of the Act on the protection of non-smokers.
3. more information is needed about the number and the rate of employers which were penalized more times or regularly.
4. case studies are needed in the selected groups of these employees to realize the reasons of the problem and possibilities of their elimination.
5. based on the case studies and other data conclusions can be drawn to prepare information materials for conflict employers on paper or the homepage of the Policy Administration Services of Public Health (FAQ)
For the implementation, the FCTC Guidelines on protection from exposure to tobacco smoke could be used: „Regardless of the mechanism used, monitoring should be based on an overall enforcement plan, and shouldinclude a process for effective training of inspectors. Effective monitoring may combine regular inspections with unscheduled, surprise inspections, as well as visits made in response to complaints. Such visits may well be educative in the early period after the law takes effect, as most breaches are likely to be inadvertent. The legislation should authorize inspectors to enter premises subject to the law and to collect samples and gather evidence, if these powers are not already established by existing law. Similarly, the legislation should prohibit businesses from obstructing the inspectors in their work.”
Activities to make underpasses and public transport stops smokefree in Budapest mean serious development in the process. Then further success would be the extension of the restriction for all playgrounds in the country.
Further element of the reduction of passive smoking related burden is the implementation and extension of programs for kindergarteners, children and youth, which help escape tobacco smoke exposition by development of adequate attitudes, behaviour andskills.