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Smoking in Milan is forbidden even in the open air ... almost

Smoking in Milan is forbidden even in the open air ... almost

Massimo Gabiadini, a shopkeeper in Milan's famous Duomo Square, is satisfied with the ban on smoking even in the open air from Tuesday in some public places in the Italian city, such as parks, stadiums and bus stops, and says, "Finally this law was passed. We are tired of smoke!" .

Smoking in Milan is forbidden even in the open air ... almost

But this 50-year-old questioned the seriousness of the matter, saying, "I am waiting to see if this law will actually be implemented. In northern Europe they respect the law, but in Italy, this is not guaranteed."

However, the ban that includes even cemeteries is not comprehensive, as those wishing to smoke can do so in isolated places, with a distance of ten meters between them and others.

In Duomo Square, devoid of tourists due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which was not covered by the smoking ban, a number of passers-by, while emitting smoke from their cigarettes, were surprised by the new law.

Milan has been classified as a red zone in terms of the pandemic, and therefore the risk of an outbreak of the virus is high. Only stores selling basic necessities are open, and restaurants can only sell take-out.

"There is no sign in Milan that smoking is forbidden in certain places," says Floris Detmires, an 18-year-old skinny model who came from the Netherlands to attend Men's Fashion Week.

"I understand that smoking is forbidden indoors," she added. "As for outside, I want people to remain free to smoke."

- 'Fair procedure' -

But overall, the ban is well received, even from smokers like Maria Luigia de Touma, a 63-year-old unemployed receptionist.

Maria Luigia describes this procedure as "fair", admitting that "smoking is really annoying for people around the smoker."

Milan was the first Italian city to implement this partial ban on outdoor smoking. The city’s municipality clarifies that its aim is to “reduce fine particles with a diameter of 10 micrometers (PM10) harmful to the lungs, and protect the health of citizens from active and passive smoking in public places.

Milan is constantly breaking records in pollution, as traffic is heavy in the capital of the Lombardy region, in the center of the Po Plain. And 8 percent of the micro-PM10 particles in Milan can be traced back to cigarettes.

The value of the fines that will be imposed on violators ranges between 40 and 240 euros, but Milan municipality officials clarify that these penalties are not applied at the present time, "indicating that the implementation will be" gradual ", pending that everyone" becomes aware of the law. "

- Total ban in 2025 -

As for the heavy blow to smokers, the date is January 1, 2025, when a complete ban on outdoor smoking will be imposed.

Although Italy is constantly criticized for its alarming pollution levels, it is considered a leader in Europe in the field of banning smoking in closed public places, including bars and restaurants, as it began applying this measure in 2005.

Contrary to expectations, enforcement of this law was easy, and health authorities noticed a significant decrease in smoking. The number of smokers aged fifteen and over in Italy has decreased by one million, and has declined to 11.6 million, according to a study conducted by the Higher Institute of Health.

Laura Peraldo (21 years old) is one such smoker. And near one of the Duomo Square statues, Laura, who works for a non-governmental organization, confirms that she does not intend to give up nicotine, as she consumes 20 cigarettes a day.

And she believes that "it is not cigarettes that are responsible for the smog, but rather car traffic and global warming."

She considers that "there is no attack on the freedom of smoking" at the present time, adding, "It is enough for me to respect a distance of ten meters."

As for electronic cigarettes, they are not yet covered by the ban in Milan.

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