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Bars in Sao Paulo Grumble Over New Smoking Ban

by VR Sreeraman on August 8, 2009 at 3:30 PM
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 Bars in Sao Paulo Grumble Over New Smoking Ban

Bar and restaurant owners in Brazil's megapolis of Sao Paulo are grumbling about a new smoking ban due to come into effect from Friday.

"How can I control someone who comes in and smokes inside?" asked Max Abdo, the owner of the Tabaqueria Ranieri, a drinking establishment that sells upmarket cigars to a well-heeled clientele.

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"I'll respect the law, but everything's very confusing," he told AFP.

The new measure, effective all across Sao Paulo state, prohibits smoking anywhere but in the open air and in private homes.

Sao Paulo governor Jose Serra has said establishments will be held responsible if violators light up.
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In an interview with Brazil's Globo television, he said the ban was to protect the health of non-smokers, seven of whom die each day in the state from passive smoking.

Cassio Gabus Mendes, Abdo's partner in the Tabaqeuria Ranieri, said "smoking a Cuban (cigar) is a ritual" in his bar, but added a non-smoking section where bands play had been added two months ago to try to keep customers when the ban comes into effect.

Smokers "are going to have to adapt," he said.

The law, though, makes an exception for premises that solely sell tobacco products.

The manager of one such establishment, Marisa Carvalho of the Davidoff shop, said she expected sales to skyrocket with the ban.

The outlet has tables and chairs where nicotine-junkies can relax while puffing away on their 70-dollar cigars.

Source: AFP
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