Three Years without Tobacco Smoke: 84% of Ukrainian Restaurants Comply with “Smoke-Free” Law

December 16, 2015

IMG_1495-300x225 15 December 2015 in Kyiv a press briefing took place  where the results of national civil monitoring of cafes,  bars and restaurants on compliance with the law on  complete prohibition of smoking indoors and at  work were presented.  

 The coalition of partners “For Tobacco Free Ukraine,”  including the project “Tobacco Free Kiev,” National  movement “Youth for Consumer Rights” and civil  organisations from 17 cities of Ukraine have conducted a monitoring of 753 establishments of the restaurant business.

According to the received results, 84 % of visited cafes, bars and restaurants are free from tobacco smoke and completely comply with the law. Not to smoke indoors has become a social norm, which is positively perceived by the public.

However, the negative tendency of breaking the law is noticed in big cities. For example, cigarettes are smoked in 6% of all establishments, which is less than in 2014, but hookah smoking is a real problem, 14% of establishments “smoke.” Together with infringements, it constitutes 15.7% or 118 establishments.

The situation has deteriorated by slight 2 percentage points (pp), in comparison with 2014 (the percentage of infringements was 12%). When comparing with the first year of operation of the law, the level of infringements  increased by 7 pp (2013% was 9% against current 15.7%). Monitoring included the majority of the catering business, cafes (40%), bars (26%), restaurant (34%) and engaged around 40 students and partners.

Main conclusions and results:

  1. The overall level of compliance with the law stays high – 84%.
  2. Among 118 establishments (15.7%) there were found cases of the law infringements: in particular, cigarettes –  5.8% (7.3% in 2014), or hookah – 13.7% (4.6% in 2014), and even electro cigarettes – 1%;
  3. Among the majority of establishments-violators (102), the personnel openly say that smoking indoors is allowed;
  4. 38% of establishments do not place visual information about the ban of smoking, which is not the fact of violation of the law, but often contributes to it.
  5. “Epidemic of infringements” had a local nature, meaning that there are cities with a significant level of infringements, and there are cities that clearly comply with “smoke-free environment”;
  6. Leaders in the law infringements are Kyiv (30%), Kharkiv (28%) and Odessa (27%);
  7. One in five establishments in Mykolaiv, Sumy and Mariupol has the law infringements, the majority of relates to hookah smoking.
  8. There appeared no establishments-violators in Zhytomyr and Ivano-Frankivsk. The rest of cities are the level of 5-8% of infringements.


“Hookah smoking is even more dangerous than cigarettes and usual tobacco products since it has the aromatic and taste flavour. When consuming hookah, burning coal frees carcinogenic substances, which then get into lungs. Hookah leads to consuming of hot smoke that accelerates the destruction of lung tissues – the lung tissues stop being elastic, which consequently causes the development of asthmatic conditions. Flavours used in hookahs when producing a smoke, turn into carcinogenic substances and lead to harmful effects. If a person seats in the hall, where hookah is smoked, then in half an hour or an hour a person would get signs of light poisoning by carbon monoxide,” – explained Anatoliy Podrushniak, Dr, the head’s assistant “Scientific Centre of Preventive Toxicology, food and chemical safety named after L.I Medvedev, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.”  

The degree of compliance with “smoke-free” legislation in Kyiv is the lowest one. There are registered almost 30% of the law infringements while last year this figure was 24%. In Kiev, hookah is smoked at the same level as cigarettes (40 establishments – violators out of 121). Especially, the worst violators are restaurants of premium class.

We urge citizens of the capital to be active and not to allow establishments to poison yourselves with tobacco smoke and demand their compliance with the current anti-tobacco law. If the owners of establishments of restaurant business ignore existing “smoke-free” law, then it is our duty to make them respect the granted by the state right to the free of tobacco smoke air. Writing a complaint to the State Inspection of Ukraine on Protection of Consumer Rights, one of the effective tools of the practical protection of the right to smoke-free air. Kyiv has to be a positive example of compliance with the applicable law, and not to occupy the top position in ranking cities-violators,” – emphasised Yulia Solokha, the coordinator of the project “Tobacco Free Kiev” of the civil society organisation Media Law Institute.

The law has to be implemented for 100 percent and has to be complied with by everyone. For now, all perfectly understand that it is forbidden to smoke in the establishments of the catering business. Moreover, it is normally perceived by visitors and the infringements likely go from the administration of the establishments. Competition has to be fair.   A restaurant is the place to visit for a rest, to enjoy delicious food and music, and not to see someone at the next table smoking,” – stated Oleh Onykiyenko, the head of the Kiev Association of Waiters.

Certain worsening of the compliance with the legislation occurs due to the absence of effective mechanisms of state control in the sphere of consumer protection (visitors of establishments of the restaurant business). The function of the State Inspection of Ukraine on Protection of Consumer Rights were paralysed by the moratorium on the control of a business that was active during a year from August 2014 to July 2015. Moreover, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has already been trying in vain for longer than a year to reform the state regulatory authorities in accordance with Resolution No442. Currently, the State Inspection on Ukraine on Protection of Consumer Rights, which is now in the state of reorganisation, responds to the complaints on violations of consumers’ rights, including the prohibition of smoking. However, no one talks about the completely operational service and a newly created state service of Ukraine on the safety of food products and consumer protection exists only on a paper.

Monitoring was launched in the third quarter of 2015. During the third quarter 27 subjects of economic management, and in 3% there were some irregularities detected, in particular, non-placement of the information foreseen by the Law of Ukraine On Measures of Prevention and Decrease of Consumption of Tobacco Products .., so it is a display of visual graphic “Smoking is Forbidden.” Regarding the fourth quarter, there appeared a significant number of appeals concerning hookah smoking in the establishments of the restaurant business. At the moment, regional offices conduct the monitoring,” explained Yuriy Sakhno, the Head of the control of advertising activity and trade at the distance of the State Inspection on Protection of Consumer Rights.

Unscrupulous representatives of business sector started to take advantage of a temporary absence of mechanisms of consumer rights protection and allow themselves a flagrant violation of the laws of Ukraine, creating risks and danger to the health of customers and personnel. Adjacent to the destruction of the system of consumer protection, there occurs weakening of the implementation of anti-tobacco legislations and discredit of the successes of previous six years in the field of smoke-free environment,” – says Andriy Skipalskiy, the Head of the NGO “Zhyttia” (“Life”).

Regarding the system of consumer rights protection, within the framework of the implementation of anti-tobacco legislation of Andriy Lyga, the member of the National Federation of consumers “PULS”, noticed: “We have to create a clear and operational platform, where civil society organisations can cooperate with the state agencies on a regular basis. This is the European experience. The Association Agreement contains direct recommendations concerning such collaboration. Together with the government, we can create a system, which will actually protect consumers’ rights.”

After the press conference, the award ceremony of anti-prise “tobacco pot” of some establishments-violators took place.