Thousands of police in smoking crackdown

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The Independent Online

Thousands of plain clothes police and paramilitary Carabinieri have been deployed to enforce Italy's new restrictions on smoking in public places effective today in bars, restaurants and offices.

Thousands of plain clothes police and paramilitary Carabinieri have been deployed to enforce Italy's new restrictions on smoking in public places effective today in bars, restaurants and offices.

Special groups of municipal police will make spot checks around the clock in cities such as Bologna and Florence in shops, clinics, craftsmen's workshops, private clubs, bingo halls and on public transport.

Italians caught smoking in premises designated as smoke-free risk a basic €55 (£40) fine while restaurant owners or managers of offending bars or clubs are liable to fines of as much as €440 (£300).

Smokers may receive a €110 fine if they subject children or pregnant women to passive smoking under the terms of the new legislation.

The Health Minister, Girolamo Sirchia, denied that he was encouraging people to become "informers" by denouncing smokers to the police.

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