The Latvian Saeima has passed law amendments that preserve the right to smoke in the parliament in areas specifically designed for smoking.
Amendments were added to the Law on the Handling of Tobacco Products, Herbal Products for Smoking, Electronic Smoking Devices and Their Liquids.
Previously, members of the Saeima passed in the second reading a proposal that was initially intended to ban smoking in the Saeima and the Cabinet of Ministers.
However, on Thursday, the 11th of January, the majority of Saeima deputies approved Ingmārs Līdaka’s clarified proposal that provides for allowing members and visitors of the Saeima to smoke in specially designated areas.
The author of this proposal said that there is no need to yell from the tribune about this topic, because it’s more an everyday issue, rather than a legislative one.
Ruling coalition member Ainars Latkovskis said “every now and then” the opposition should be supported, and there are moments when opinions of colleagues should be taken into account.
The politician said that smoking 10 m away from the Saeima is even worse than maintaining a room in the parliament building specifically for the purpose of smoking indoors.
Saeima member Gatis Liepiņš said today the Saeima adopted “one of the tightest restrictions on smoking in the world”. “We prohibited an entire section of e-smoking and we prohibited residents under the age of 20 from smoking. At the same time, if we look back at us, the smoking room in the Saeima, then no – we will continue doing what we’ve been doing so far,” the politician criticised the proposal.
Liepiņš mentioned that for 20 years smoking rooms have been prohibited in state administration. If the parliament continues to maintain the smoking room in the Saeima building, he believes it would be fair to bring back smoking rooms in other state institutions.
“For example, State Police officers smoke outside, openly in the street, which is an unpleasant sight. Ambulance workers and fire fighters smoke outside as well. We made this decision a long time, and I don’t thing Saeima deputies are more equal than other people,” stresses the deputy.
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