Latvia’s ‘happiness index’ is at an all-time high, with the people currently the happiest in thirteen years, according to an SKDS survey carried out for LNT television. In 2001, less than half of the people in Latvia said they were happy, while 38 percent said they felt unhappy. The proportion of ‘happy people’ exceeded 60 percent in the pre-crisis period. This year, over 73 percent of respondents said they considered themselves happy. One-fifth of the population remains unhappy. The happiest people are students and housewives, whereas the largest number of unhappy residents is among the unemployed. The data also show that the age of respondents is an important factor: 89 percent of those under 24 consider themselves happy. Also, respondents with children are happier than those without. Women are happier than men. People with a university education tend to be happier with their lives, as do respondents with higher incomes.
Economically-active residents of Latvia trust most of all three institutions - the police, the church and the municipality - a poll carried out by the research agency TNS Latvia indicates. The majority of respondents – 53 percent - trust the police, with 49 percent saying they trust the church and municipality. The research indicates that the Ombudsman is trusted by 41 percent of residents, while 39 percent putting their trust in the mass media, and 38 percent in the courts. The president of Latvia is trusted by 37 percent of residents, the Cabinet of Ministers 22 percent, but the Saeima comes in at only 16 percent of residents. The poll was carried out from May 6-8, surveying 750 economically-active residents of Latvia, between 18 and 55 years of age.
The Association of Doctors of Latvia (ADA) has proposed that amendments be made to the law concerning non-smokers’ rights - to clean, unpolluted air - as the rights to be free from the risks of illness ought to be given priority over smokers’ interests, reports LETA. ADA proposes that restrictions be applied on tobacco sales, advertising and their use. “Taking into account that every person has a right to live in a healthy environment and that the state must protect residents’ health, and the fact that secondhand smoke is hazardous to human health and causes cancerous, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, the law stipulates that every non-smoker has the right to clean, unpolluted air,” the association advocates. The ADA also advocates that smoking should be prohibited in the presence of non-smokers, unless they have given permission to smoke. The proposal to prohibit smoking in the presence of non-smokers if they object is agreed by the Social and Employment Matters Committee of Saeima. The Saeima Committee will urge the Ministry of Health and the parliamentary Juridical Bureau to approve these proposals.