Smoking fines on the increase

The number of fines being issued for smoking in public places is on an upward trend, statistics show.

Figures tabled in Parliament by Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia, in reply to a parliamentary question by government whip Byron Camilleri, show that 1,996 fines have been issued between January and the beginning of September this year.

Just 636 such fines had been issued during the whole of 2015, down from 1,458 in 2013 and 1,139 a year later.

But the number went back up to 1,585 in 2016, and more than doubled to 3,372 in 2017 before peaking at 3,681 last year.

Malta’s first smoking ban was introduced in 2004, and at the time allowed indoor smoking areas in public places, as long as these were ventilated and cut off from the rest of the establishment.

These designated smoking rooms were prohibited when the regulations were expanded in 2013, with provisions also prohibiting smoking outdoors in playgrounds or public gardens which host playing equipment for children.

In 2017, smoking was also banned in cars when children are present.