<b>Latvia: Smoking near kids equal to violence</b> <p>The parliament of Latvia has passed a bill that would make smoking cigarettes in the presence of children equal to an act of physical violence.</p> <p>The draft law, proposing amendments to the current law on the protection of children's rights, puts smoking in the presence of children is regarded as one form of physical or emotional cruelty, sexual violence or any other behavior that could be destructive to a child.</p> <p>The bill, which still has to be passed and signed by the president, does not stipulate the punishment for smoking near kids. Two months ago, Latvia adopted legislature that tightened bans on smoking in public places, in particular banning smoking on balconies and in the stairwells of residential apartment buildings. <div style="text-align:center"><img src="/img_news/latvia_smoking_ban.jpg" style="border:0;width:283px;height:424px" alt="Latvia: Smoking near kids equal to violence" /></div>