The Croatian government unveiled proposals to water down new legislation banning smoking in public following a backlash from cafe and restaurant owners.
According to proposed amendments forwarded to the parliament, cafes smaller than 50 square metres (538 square feet) will be allowed to decide whether they will be a smoking or non-smoking location after meeting certain criteria.
AdvertisementBigger cafes will also be allowed to have a smoking zone, provided it does not cover more than 20 percent of the establishment's overall surface area.
Since the law banning smoking in all public places was introduced in May, managers of cafes and restaurants say their businesses are being ruined.
However the amendments will not affect restaurants and Health Minister Darko Milinovic denied that the government was caving in to pressure.
"The law is not being changed under any pressure," Milinovic told a cabinet session. "We are still taking care of Croatia's public interest."
Officials have said the law was aimed at protecting non-smokers, who make up 68 percent of the country's population of 4.4 million.
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