11 million smokers in Italy
More than 20 % of Italians are smokers including teenagers. Although it is forbidden for minors to buy tobacco products in Italy, it can happen that those who are authorized to sell them are not so careful about the age of customers. There are currently 11 million smokers in the country, while almost 72,000 deaths a year are related to smoking, according to research from the University of Turin.
On January 10th 2005, Italy became the third country in Europe, after Ireland and Norway, to bring in a smoking ban in indoor public places including bars, cafes and nightclubs.
Currently, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed spaces, public or private, such as in professional offices of lawyers, engineers, doctors etc. On the contrary, smoking is allowed in private residences (homes), in all outdoor or partially open spaces such as parks, beaches, streets, sidewalk cafes and terraces of restaurants, bars etc. These dedicated smoking areas must be marked as such and adequately separated from the area where smoking is prohibited. In this case the room must also be equipped with a ventilation and air exchange system that must operate regularly. It is also possible to smoke in dedicated smoking rooms of hotels, courtyards, private offices or on balconies which are not open to the public.
Violators are punished by administrative sanctions that go from 28 to 550 euros. If the violation is committed by those responsible for supervising the respect of non-smoking ban (for example, those who do not report violators or do not affix the signs of non-smoking areas) the sanction goes from a minimum of 200 euro to a maximum of 2200 euro.