Romanian Parliament bans smoking in public places

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romanian lawmakers have approved a ban on smoking in public places, one of the last countries in the European Union to do so.

Lawmakers from the Chamber of Deputies voted 164-20 with 26 abstentions on Tuesday to enforce a public ban on smoking in indoor public spaces, in workplaces and areas where children play.

Horia Cristian, a Liberal Party lawmaker, said 28 percent of Romanians smoke. He said it was time for Romania "to be one of the countries that has drastically reduced smoking in public places."

Detainees in high-security prisons will be allowed to smoke, and there will be special places in airports for smokers. As a maximum punishment, authorities will be allowed to close businesses which flout the ban.

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