Serbian President Boris Tadic Friday signed into law new anti-smoking measures which will ban lighting up in most public places but gives some leeway for restaurants, bars and cafes.
The law forbids smoking in state institutions and buildings, schools, social care institutions, buildings used for cultural and sports activities, media buildings and buildings where food is produced.
AdvertisementFines for defying the ban are 50 euros (64 dollars) for individuals and up to 10,000 euros for companies.
Restaurants, bars and cafes larger than 80 square metres will be forced to have a no-smoking zone covering at least half the premises. Smaller businesses can simply declare if they are smoking or non-smoking.
The law will come into effect in coming months but exact dates are not clear as there are processes of registration for eating and drinking establishments.
More than one third (33.6 percent) of Serbia's eight million inhabitants are smokers, according to health statistics.
The Balkans are home to Europe's most inveterate smokers, with 30 to 40 percent of all adults hooked on the habit, according to the World Health Organisation.
Neighbouring Croatia and Macedonia have recently caused a public outcry by introducing stringent anti-smoking laws banning people from lighting up in restaurants and bars.