Moscow: The Parliament of the northern European republic of Latvia has passed a bill that would make smoking in the presence of children equal to an act of physical violence.

A news portal said the draft law, which proposes amendments to the current law on the protection of children's rights, puts smoking in the presence of children on a par with any form of physical or emotional cruelty, sexual violence, negligence or any other behaviour that could be detrimental to a child.

The bill, which still has to be passed in a third reading and signed by the President, does not stipulate the punishment for smoking near children.

Two months ago, Latvia adopted legislature that tightened bans on smoking in public places, in particular prohibiting smoking on balconies and in the stairwells of residential apartment buildings, as well as on the premises of other public facilities.

(Agencies)

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