Slovakia's soon-to-be-law bans smoking in restaurants but lets customers light up in pubs and cafes. The partial-smoking ban bill was passed by Parliament on tuesday.
Under the bill, still to be signed into law by the president, restaurants must earmark at least 50 percent of their floor area for non-smokers and separate them from smokers by a wall.
"This bill represents an important milestone in the protection of non-smokers and a step towards the introduction of further limits on smoking in bars and cafes," Robert Ochaba from the Public Health Bureau told AFP.
"We supported a total smoking ban, we don't consider this partial solution very fortunate," Pavol Kasuba, secretary-general of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants, told AFP.
He added many restaurant owners would rather ban smoking outright and avoid expensive renovation work to separate smoking and non-smoking areas.
"At the time of the global economic crisis, which has reduced guest numbers, we can't afford to build separate rooms for smokers in restaurants," said Kasuba.
An official survey from 2006 showed about 38 percent of the Slovak population of 5.5 million were smokers.