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Learning English - Words in the News
02 August, 2004 - Published 14:02 GMT
Montenegro smoking ban

Montenegro's parliament has passed a law banning smoking in public places. The Balkan country has one of the highest rates of smoking in Europe. The new law also forbids the advertising of tobacco. This report from Matt Prodger:

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Montenegro is one of the last places one would expect to find a ban on smoking in public places. Together with its partner Serbia in the union of Serbia and Montenegro, it has the third highest rate of smoking in Europe, beaten only by Turkey and Greece. Forty per cent of people smoke and they do so everywhere - in offices, restaurants, bars and on buses.

But now the Montenegrin parliament has passed a law which not only forbids smokers from lighting up in public but also bans tobacco advertising and even the portrayal of smoking on television. It makes the selling of cigarettes to those under the age of eighteen punishable with an eleven thousand dollar fine.

The government said it was keen to follow the trends of more developed European nations in taking a tougher line on smoking. The ban is all the more ironic since Italian and EU investigators have accused the Montenegrin government of complicity in large scale cigarette smuggling. The prime minister himself, Milo Djukanovic, was named in a lawsuit brought by the European Union.

The new law is not expected to be enforced in Montenegro for at least another six months. But when it is, smokers there can take comfort from the fact that they can nip across the border to Serbia, where no such restrictions exist.

Matt Prodger, BBC News, Belgrade.

Listen to the words

a law, or a rule which doesn’t allow you to do something

public places
any places where people gather, e.g. restaurants, offices, shops, etc.

here, refers to the fact that a higher percentage of people smoke in Turkey and Greece than in Serbia and Montenegro

officially approved

lighting up
smoking (colloquial)

here, subject to a fine

laid the blame on, charged

partnership in a crime or wrongdoing

illegal import or export

be enforced
become law, be imposed

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