A cloud followed the marchers, who said the economic consequences of the smoking ban were being felt across the country – particularly in small pubs which cannot afford to set up a separate smokers’ room.
Slogans such as ‘Smoking ban is killing pubs’ were painted on banners while rhyming couplets were sung to schlager music.
The demonstrators were calling for the ban to be lifted for one-room and other small cafes and pubs.
One pub owner, Renate Schumacher told German daily Tagesspiegel, “I don’t want to claim the dole. But 90 percent of my customers are smokers, and without them I might as well close down.”
Others were there on principle, like Monika Hey who told the paper, “I know that smoking is bad for the health. I am a health scientist at the Charité Hospital. But I would like to be able to choose myself.”