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Bavaria votes on total smoking ban
Photo: DPA

Bavaria votes on total smoking ban

Published: 04 Jul 2010 13:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 04 Jul 2010 13:56 GMT+02:00

The state of Bavaria is holding a referendum on Sunday to decide whether to impose a complete ban on smoking in all restaurants and bars. It would be the strictest ban in Germany.

Final opinion polls indicate that the result will be very close, and if the anti-smoking lobby proves successful, it could be a forerunner to a general ban on smoking in restaurants and bars in the whole of Germany.

Since it was decided that the smoking ban came under the jurisdiction of individual states, Germany has taken a piecemeal approach to a ban that is already in effect in much of Europe. Different states have different regulations, with exceptions made for various types of bar, but no state has imposed an absolute ban.

Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer said he hoped that Sunday's plebiscite would conclude a debate that has wracked the state for nearly five years. The vote "will have a pacifying effect on society," he said. "And then we'll have some peace!"

If the pro-smoking faction wins, then Bavaria's existing law will remain in place, which allows smoking in beer-tents, one-room bars and designated rooms.

Seehofer himself has remained neutral throughout the campaign. According to a report in news magazine Der Spiegel, this is because his party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has "had its fingers burnt" taking sides on the issue in the past. Bavaria's ruling party lost its absolute majority in the 2008 state parliament elections, partly because it backed a cross-party total smoking ban in December 2007.

Forced into a coalition with the neo-liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), Seehofer subsequently loosened the ban and allowed certain exceptions.

This resulted in a massive anti-smoking campaign in Bavaria, which collected 1.3 million signatures and thus triggered Sunday's referendum. If the anti-smoking campaign is successful, the total ban would automatically come into effect on August 1, though there would be an amnesty for this year's Oktoberfest.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:15 July 4, 2010 by Annika669
Lovely, we've had it for years in Sweden! And, I am a smoker!

Amnesty, for october fest? Ha ha ha, that was fun!
18:56 July 4, 2010 by SDogood
There are many states in the US who've made this very move and Wisconsin will join that group as of 5 July. While I'm against the government banning a legal product, I admit my own hypocrisy when I say that it will be nice to patronize bars and restaurants and actually be able to taste my purchase. It will be nice to not have to come home and have to put your clothes straight into the wash. It sounds as if in Bayern, enough people are speaking loudly enough to get their elected officials attention on the matter; this has not been the case in at least my state.
19:56 July 4, 2010 by Thetrotter
Up here in M-V I think we have a pretty good arrangement. If you want to smoke there are smoking bars available which are recognized as such and many restaurants have separate smoking rooms. The total ban imo is unnecessary but I do feel that non-smoking should be considered the 'norm' and smoking only allowed where stipulated.
19:59 July 4, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
I am a smoker and from Wisconsin. I believe that our rights are being taken away. There can be bars & resteraunts with no smoking and some that allow smoking. It is a CHOICE wich one you choose. That choice has been taken away. Lets just say there is a strip club and you dissaprove of it. Your CHOICE is not to pratronize that establishment. Since I do not drink and can not stand the smell of beer or wine I do not go into taverns. That is my choice. I wonder what all those who drink alcohol would think if they banned that item! Now they are going after food and heavy people. What next?

I feel they have gone too far. But as every one knows the government was buisy drinking when they should be thinking.
20:11 July 4, 2010 by ReaderX
Well that's what happens when you allow liberals to breed. They all feel that they have the right to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

I mean it's no different than the nanny state that the U.S. is turning into.

I hope all the smokers win.
21:12 July 4, 2010 by vonSchwerin
@thequeen

It would be nice if there were smokers' pubs and non-smoking pubs, but when pubs have an exemption from the Gaststätte smoking ban, they all opt to go smoking. Non-smokers can't find a smoke-free pub.

In Berlin, virtually all pubs are smoking. Though they could choose to be non-smoking, they don't. If you want to go out for a beer and drink it in a smoke-free environment, you have to do it at a restaurant.

And difference between the smell of wine and secondhand cigarette smoke is that the smell of wine isn't killing anyone. The secondhand smoke is. Besides, the very purpose of a pub is to serve beer and wine. So, it should probably smell like beer and wine. Smoke is unrelated to its purpose. If we were talking about smokers' clubs or cigar bars, I would completely understand the fact that they smell like smoke. That's their business.
22:04 July 4, 2010 by Mary1980
A good alternative to smoking might be the Electronic cigarette. This high tech device feels just like a normal cigarette and yet only contains 16 chemicals, contrary to the 4000 chemicals in regular cigarettes.

Nevertheless, it's much much cheaper. I gave it to my father on his birthday and since then he saves around a hundred Dollars each month. He tells me its great that he can decide on his own how much nicotine he inhales (the cartridges come in 0-16 mg nic.).

My mum also loves it, because the "smoke" is mainly composed of water-vapor, so now she doesent need to send my dad outside each time he wants to smoke, haha. You can check them out on www.greensmoke.com/disc10-18621 , this link contains a 10% discount.

There is an upfront cost for the starters kit, but the cartridges are more than 50% cheaper than cigarettes, so in the end you'll only save money. Try it, I cant see how you'll be disappointed. Furthermore, they offer every customer a 30 day money guarantee, meaning if you dont like it you can return it without having to pay any cost.
22:49 July 4, 2010 by Kayak
And the Bedienungen (waiters and waitresses) can just choose to be sick the day after say a WM-game and in their old-age from a career satisfying other people's freedom to make them ill.

Oh, but it won't affect that twenty-year-old serving me now...??? She's free to decide not to serve me and become an airframe-fitter or...
22:55 July 4, 2010 by harrylatour
Stand by to see 3/4s of your social life finish,,,,,here in England we have had countless pubs and clubs go to the wall because of the smoking ban.The same lies were peddled by non smokers over here too,,,''oh it will be lovely to go out again without all that smoke spoiling my evening'' ,,,nah,it never happened,,,,they never did ''go down the pub'',,,ask any English Pub goer,,,Ask yourself this,,,,do they play darts,,,,do they play cards,,,,or perhaps domino's,,,,,,never in a Pub ,,,as we all found out!!
03:22 July 5, 2010 by qaz668
As smoking taxes and restrictions get more and more severe, people are forced to look for alternatives. I asked my mother to try an alternative that I am convinced is better for her health as well since it contains only chemicals already added to foods or medicines instead of the toxic cocktail known to be in tobacco smoke. I ordered for her an electronic cigarette from www.CleanGreenNicotine.com and she has not looked back. She has not had a tobacco cigarette since getting the kit I bought for her. To see the EU site, go to www.CleanGreenNicotine.com/uk and learn more about it.
11:48 July 5, 2010 by Rover
This is just another symbol of how dreary everything is becoming. Does a non smoker absolutely have to patronize a clearly designated smoking bar?

Now the inirtiators of this effort, drunk on power, can't mind their own business and want to force the rest of Germany to follow suit.

It's bad enough that so many freedoms have gone by the wayside due to governmental regulations, but it's really depressing when the 'people' join in on the same bandwagon of limiting options and restricting choice.

And I'm not a smoker BTW. I'm just so bored of all the hypocrisy. If it's okay to drink yourself to oblivion almost everywhere, surely it's okay to light up a cigarette in a specially designated area.
15:54 July 5, 2010 by sorochin
So the "New Bavaria" has spoken and we see that "Gemuetlichkeit" is merely a tourist-brochure fantasy.

Will there be Raucherclubs again?

@vonSchwerin: if there are enough non-smokers who demand non-smoking pubs, there'll be non-smoking pubs. Why do you think all the Berlin pubs are smoking ones? And by the way, secondhand smoke is a myth.
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