The Prime Minister of Lithuania, Gediminas Kirkilas, has been issued a fine for smoking his pipe in a public place. After enjoying a few lungfuls of heady Latakia in a bar in the Baltic Sea port town of Klaipeda, he apologised to the owner, saying, “I’m to blame for this. I simply forgot that we can no longer smoke inside bars. I will cover this fine for the bar.” The fine is believed to be somewhere in the region of 1,000 litas (£222 Sterling).
Smoking in public places, including cafes, restaurants and bars, has been banned in Lithuania since January 1, 2007. The ban punishes restaurants and bars for violations rather than patrons. Mr. Kirkilas is a long-time pipe-smoker, and was enjoying a drink and a smoke with Ivars Godmanis, the Latvian Prime Minister. The incident was reported to the alcohol and tobacco service, which immediately launched an investigation.
Gordon Brown was quick to throw his weight behind international condemnation of the affair: “We have asked for more information about the situation and we will keep this matter under
review,” he said, echoing his exact words with regard to the Chinese authorities slaughtering 100 Tibetans in Lhasa.