Portugal PM Gets Heat for Smoking on Plane

Was he just blowing smoke when he backed Portugal's cigarette ban?
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2008 2:41 AM CDT
Portugal PM Gets Heat for Smoking on Plane
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, with his Spanish counterpart Jose Luis Zapatero. Both men have been criticized for smoking in public in defiance of their own governments'bans.    (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

Portugal banned smoking in public places five months ago but the country's prime minister appears to have forgotten the rule his own government enacted. Jose Socrates—known to be a smoker in private—stunned passengers and triggered an uproar when he blithely lit up in the first-class cabin of a TAP flight from Lisbon to Caracas.

"I didn't think I was breaking the law," the prime minister told reporters after his infraction was revealed. "I thought I could smoke. I always did before. Unfortunately, this has generated controversy and I am regretful." (Read more Portugal stories.)

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