November 3rd, 2015  



Call to the attention of  

                                                           MR. KLAUS IOHANNIS, PRESIDENT OF ROMANIA,

                                                                       THE GOVERNMENT OF ROMANIA,

                                                                         THE PARLIAMENT OF ROMANIA,  


In the context of the tragic events occurred these past days, the Romanian Society of Cardiology and the Romanian Society of Pneumology call on the immediate amendment of Law no. 349/2012 on the prevention and fight against the effects of tobacco use in the sense of completely banning smoking in all public spaces (these explicitly including restaurants, bars, clubs, etc).  

The new law should also make the immediate installation of automatic fire detection and fighting systems imperative in mentioned areas.  

A legislative initiative for amending mentioned law, which was voted by the Romanian Senate in March 2015, was blocked at the level of the Committee for Health and Family this mid-year. It is impossible for us not to imagine that the tragedy that started on October 30th in the club “Colectiv” would have been avoided if such law and mentioned regulation had existed!  

The total smoking in public spaces ban is also imposed by the Law no. 48 /2002 on approving Government Ordinance no.137/2000 on prevention and sanction of all forms of discrimination (published in the Official Gazette no.69 from January 31st, 2002). Art.1 paragraph (2) of the law stipulates that “the principles of equality among citizens and of exclusion of privileges and discrimination are guaranteed especially in the exercise of the following rights” among which “the right to health, medical care, social security and services” (letter (d)(iv)). Current provisions of the Law no. 349/2012 do not guarantee that this right is respected in restaurants, bars and clubs, as a complete smoker - nonsmoker separation is impossible in mentioned spaces. Once inside restaurants, bars or clubs, nonsmokers fall victim of a permanent aggression, being forced to become passive smokers. Thus, the right to health stipulated in Law no. 48/2002 is constantly violated and the discrimination of the nonsmoking majority (75% of the population) by the smoking minority is persistently tolerated. The only way to put an end to this discrimination that has SERIOUS EFFECTS ON THE GENERAL STATE OF HEALTH OF THE POPULATION is to totally ban smoking in public spaces.  

We draw attention to the fact that, according to the European statistics, Romanians – and Bulgarians - have the lowest life expectancy in the European Union. Moreover, Romania ranks among the very first in the top when considering mortality caused by cardiovascular disease, as 60% of the Romanians die because of such illness. If we are to compare, the mortality in case of Romanians age 60 to 65 equals the one in case of the French age 75 to 80 when considering the cardiovascular disease as cause. It has long ago been proven that smoking is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  

The second position in the top of the causes of death is cancer (21%), another disease that has smoking among its major risk factors. The fact that smoking causes 90% of the cases of lung cancer is a very well known reality.  

The current catastrophic state of health of the Romanian population and the serious economic and social effects it triggers are the result of the measures of prevention of chronic disease – lung and cardiovascular disease, especially – having been ignored. Given the context, the absence of a firm legislative and administrative attitude directed towards the banning of smoking in public spaces is of major importance.  

We are convinced that you, Mister President, the Ministers of the Romanian Government and the Members of the Romanian Parliament are aware of the need to immediately adopt a series of major decisions that will have as concrete result the solving of the serious health issues of the population that are real attempts against Romania’s national security.   Considering all the above, the implementation of a chronic disease prevention program becomes an issue of national interest. In this respect, the first step that should be made is the immediate adoption of the law that completely prohibits smoking in public spaces.  

Dr. Gabriel Tatu – Chitoiu

President, Romanian Society of Cardiology  

Prof.Dr. Florin Mihaltan

President, Romanian Society of Pneumology  

Ass.Prof. Ioan Mircea Coman

President, Romanian Heart Foundation

Gabriel Tatu-Chitoiu    Contact the author of the petition