Government Watch. On the New Plan to Force Smokers to Light Up Inside

The Lithuanian Free Market Institute has examined draft amendments to the Law on Tobacco Control that prohibit smoking on balconies, stipulating that people may only smoke inside their own residence with windows shut and no closer than 10 meters to apartment buildings so that the smoke cannot drift into another person’s residence.

In its position paper LFMI called for the rejection of the amendments due to the following:

  • a ban on smoking in private apartments and on their balconies is a fundamental violation of the right to property and the right to privacy entrenched in Articles 22 and 23 of the Constitution, under which private life and property shall be inviolable;
  • drafters of the law do not provide substantial arguments that a ban on smoking closer than 10 meters from apartment buildings is a proportionate means of protecting people’s interest and that it cannot be otherwise protected;
  • Latvia is the only state that prohibits smoking on balconies; however, even Latvian laws provide no restrictions on smoking with regard to distance from apartment buildings;
  • housing cooperatives already have and should not be deprived of the right to establish smoke-free areas; and
  • the proposed regulation is extremely difficult to enforce, especially when it comes to determining the existence of an infringement.

The full position paper (in Lithuanian) is available at