WHEN the new law on drug dependency passed by the Balearic government last April comes into force on July 10, offices, restaurants, night clubs and other places of entertainment will have to provide smoke-free areas. The federation of business associations, CAEB, has offered its full collaboration to the health ministry to guarantee this when the law comes into force. Yesterday, health minister Aina Castillo signed an agreement with CAEB president Josep Oliver, in the presence of the heads of commerce, restaurant, night club and hotel groups, all of which will have to guarantee non-smokers areas where they will not be bothered by tobacco smoke. Castillo pointed out that under the new law, which was approved by Parliament last April, smoking is banned at the workplace and public establishments, although areas for smokers can be provided. The minister said that the space for smokers should be differentiated from the rest of the workplace, but the law does not oblige the two areas to be separated by elements which will prevent the passage of smoke between the two. She stressed that the law did give the management a certain leeway in this respect, providing that the basic premise is respected: that the non-smokers' right not to inhale tobacco smoke must be respected. Castillo said she was convinced that if strict rules such as the total separation of smokers and non-smokers areas were established, “then the law would not be obeyed.” She warned that this could happen with the stricter state law which is due to come into force next year. Under the new agreement, CAEB promises to distribute among members information on the new law, especially the part which refers to smoking, and to make sure that the tough new restrictions on the sale of tobacco are complied with. A joint committee has been set up to see that the law is applied and to resolve conflicts of interests.

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