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Social Democrats push for national smoking ban

The Local · 6 Jul 2010, 08:01

Published: 06 Jul 2010 08:01 GMT+02:00

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Several SPD parliamentarians are planning a meeting on Thursday to rally cross-party support for a strict national ban – without exceptions – similar to that approved by referendum in the southern state of Bavaria on Sunday, daily Tagesspiegel reported.

While smoking bans are the responsibility of the states, the federal parliament could use workplace health and safety laws – arguing that pub and restaurant workers' health needs to be protected – to enact a ban.

“I consider the regulation in Bavaria to be the only sensible course,” Social Democrats health spokesman Karl Lauterbauch told daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger. “Either you want a smoking ban or you don’t. If you want it, then you should make the national ban like the Bavarian one – that is, without exceptions. It will happen in the medium term in any event – I’m confident of that.”

Opposition to a ban consisted “mainly of lobbyists” he said.

“And then you simply have to ask the question. For whom do you make policy: for the restaurant association or the majority of citizens?”

His remarks follow Bavaria’s clear referendum result on Sunday in which 61 percent of voters backed a complete smoking ban in pubs and restaurants – including Oktoberfest drinking tents and separate, closed-off smoking rooms.

Smoking bans have so far been left to the states, creating a patchwork of half-hearted bans, some of which – including Berlin’s – have been challenged in courts. Laws generally allow establishments to build separate, closed-off smoking areas.

But owners of small pubs who run the bar themselves and cannot afford to build closed-off smoking rooms have successfully argued in court that bans discriminate against them, which is a breach of the constitution.

Story continues below…

Pub owners fear their business would plummet if drinkers cannot smoke inside.

Carola Reimann, a Social Democratic MP who heads the parliamentary health committee, told the Frankfurter Rundschau a national ban was needed to end the uncertainty and ensure fair competition between all pubs.

“The patchwork of unclear and unsatisfying individual laws has to end,” she said.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:44 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
The control freaks certainly didn't waste any time after their Bavarian anti-smoking pogrom, did they? Give 'em an inch and they'll take the whole nine yards every damn time.
08:57 July 6, 2010 by crunchy2k
These social engineers aka neo-fascist won't stop with cigs......they have found a way to make money from charities and hoodwinked corporations. These people are professional lobbyist for any cause that is popular that day with money being spent. I admit keeping people from smoking saves lives, but it dramatically increases state medical costs as these smokers will now live decades longer. This is a side of things that hasn't been presented in the debate. I say let people enjoy their lifestyles and get rid of these bigoted neo-fascist.......
09:22 July 6, 2010 by lordkorner
"I say let people enjoy their lifestyles and get rid of these bigoted neo-fascist."

I was on a beach at the weekend,trying to enjoy my life style with my family,along comes another family and plonks themselves up-wind from us,after they had settled themselves the parents started to smoke ,she a cigarette and he some type of cheap cigar,Ban them I say everywhere in public. ...
09:33 July 6, 2010 by pepsionice
While I agree that smoking is bad for your health.....so is drinking (at least excessively). If Germans were serious about "health".....maybe Octoberfest ought to be discussed and eliminated....because of excessive drinking there. Maybe the CDU or SPD would like to take that on as well?
09:44 July 6, 2010 by crunchy2k
"I was on a beach at the weekend,trying to enjoy my life style with my family,along comes another family and plonks themselves up-wind from us,after they had settled themselves the parents started to smoke ,she a cigarette and he some type of cheap cigar,Ban them I say everywhere in public. ... "

And if they had setup a BBQ, you'd still be complaining....It was a public beach and you had two usable legs to walk elsewhere to show your inability to fit into society.
10:23 July 6, 2010 by Fatz Lewinski

You know, I am reading this and your comments (or essays) in the other chain and I have to laugh. When it comes to smoking, Germany is so far behind other Euro countries, the bulk of the US and many other parts of the civilised world. Why is it such a surprise that this is happening? Public opinion is no longer passive on this and the tolerance for smoking has run out. Its not about control freaks (or, to quote crunchy2, neo fascists) but about what the majority of people want. The bars and restaurants around the world did not go bust en-masse, post-ban. The simply smelt better. You can too!
10:24 July 6, 2010 by BelindaC
See this link where you will see that the general public has responded massively to an opportunity to suggest amendments to this horrendous legislation in the UK, where the hospitality industry has been slaughtered since 2007. http://yourfreedom.hmg.gov.uk/@@search?Subject=smoking
10:55 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Fatz --

I'm glad my comments give you a laugh. Laughter is very important to a healthy lifestyle.

I'm not at all surprised that this is happening. I'm from the US and I watched it happen there. I lived in France and I watched it happen there (although I really was surprised about how easily the French caved in to smoking bans). But your argument that this is inevitable because of the will of the majority is a straw man. I can give you hundreds of examples of how the will of the majority can be tyrannical, unjust and oppressive to the minority. In point of fact, the Bill of Rights to the Constitution in the country I come from was written and ratified specifically to PREVENT the will of the majority from oppressing the minority.

But this discussion is not about constitutional rights (although such an argument could be made under certain circumstances), but rather about civility, courtesy, accommodation and common sense.

Bars and restaurants in many communities and many countries are in fact hurting because of these bans, and many have gone bust, but it is up to them to exert their collective influence to pass legislation that allows for reasonable accommodation for the non-smoking patrons and smoking patrons alike. It is not impossible. However, now having the upper hand of public opinion, the militant non-smokers employ a scorched earth policy (pun intended) to make sure that smokers will never be accommodated anywhere, any time. This is tyranny, and as ideologically and socially stupid as the goals of the Prohibitionists in America in the 20s and 30s. It didn't work with alcohol and it won't work with tobacco.

As far as smell goes, I can't stand the smell of perfume and cologne. I'm allergic to it. Yet I'm subjected to it daily in public places, restaurants, bars, courthouses, offices and on public transportation. When it's 30 degrees and the humidity is approaching that of a sauna, take a ride on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn and treat your olfactory senses to the overwhelming combination of cheap perfume, cologne, aftershave and deodorants. It's enough to gag a maggot. The people who bath in that crap have no regard for other people's sensitivities, but they can't be banned from a bar or restaurant. Sometimes life just isn't fair, is it?
11:00 July 6, 2010 by BelindaC
Smoking bans are pushed by a lobby that wants to denormalise an activity and by association those who engage in it. Luckily most commenters on this board see this for the intolerant and authoritarian measure that it is.

Fats Lewinski ... there was carnage in the hospitality industry following 2007. http://www.facebook.com/home.php?filter=h#!/photo.php?pid=1279686&o=all&op=1&view=all&subj=122405704449762&aid=-1&id=1046658695&oid=122405704449762

And there were lots of complaints about smells too (mostly toilets and body odour previously masked by smoke).
11:00 July 6, 2010 by Fatz Lewinski
>> the hospitality industry has been slaughtered

Funny, I regularly work in the UK, not just in London and I have to say that every second store front wants to sell me food or drink in some form or another. I would say that the slaughter is from an over-supply.

I don't see this link as anything more convincing than this chain.
11:14 July 6, 2010 by BelindaC
Of course people will sell you things everywhere but pub stocks have plummeted since 2007, even the big chains. The trade used to be healthy and now it is operating with one hand tied behind its back, and recently expressed relief that the government decided not to impose an outdoor ban as well.

Prufrock's points about the tyranny of the majority bear thinking about.
11:35 July 6, 2010 by dcgi
Drinking to excess is bad for your health of course but the difference is that the act of drinking only affects you, smoking hurts everyone around you.
11:49 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
dcgi --

Not true, unfortunately. Drunk drivers cause more deaths and serious injuries to others each year than all smoking related deaths combined. Drunks are more apt to behave violently in public and alcohol is the leading factor in domestic abuse. Additionally, alcohol related illnesses create a huge societal burden in the form of health care, and alcohol abuse costs employers billions of dollar (or euros) annually in absenteeism. And I'm a guy who likes a drink as much as the next person.
12:16 July 6, 2010 by kentishbells
Banning of smoking in UK public houses has had a catastrophic effect on the profitability of the pub trade

Germany is rightfully proud of its beer and bars so please dont make the same mistake we did! If someone wants to run a non smoking bar then fine but dont ban it completely to suit a few fanatics! I thought it was only in Britain that still allowed the state to do the thinking for us!
12:17 July 6, 2010 by dcgi
@Prufrock2010: good point, hadn't thought of those implications.

I guess what I was getting at although didn't make it clear enough is that drinking responsibly hurts no-one (not even yourself if you do it in moderation, e.g. wine in moderation is good for you), smoking responsibly (an oxymoron if ever I heard one) on the other hand in a pub/bar still hurts everyone around you regardless of how you smoke.
15:01 July 6, 2010 by Mary1980
A good alternative to smoking might be the Electronic cigarette. This device feels just like a 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 back guarantee, meaning if you dont like it you can return it without having to pay any cost.
15:41 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Mary --

I have one of those electronic cigarettes and, although they taste like sh*t, they do offer a good nicotine hit in an emergency situation where smoking a real cigarette is impossible. The cartridges are expensive, don't last long, and they require constant recharging.

Because the "lighted" end of the device glows like a real cigarette when you take a drag (even though its just an LED), I wouldn't try using it on air airplane. You'd be immediately subdued by neurotic passengers, flight attendants and at least one air marshal, and you'd probably find yourself arrested and placed on a permanent no-fly list.
15:49 July 6, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Again, smokers, it is just a ban on smoking in enclosed public places -- places wherein non-smokers might be exposed to tobacco toxins. Lighten up, and open your eyes and see that it is a pretty popular idea, with good reason, in much of the world. No one is trampling on your "rights as a smoker," -- what a joke this idea is -- there are no tyrants at work here, no social engineers or neofascists, no "oppression of the minority" (Prufrock soars again!). Smoking bans have not yet caused the downfall or any society or collapse of any economy; no smokers have yet died as a result of the ban. In fact, once meaningful smoking restrictions are in place, no one but smoking ideologues will even notice the change.
17:05 July 6, 2010 by Mr Goodmorning
There are so many untruths being spouted above I have to assume that the majority of previous posters are shills for the tobacco companies, seeing that it's them that stand to lose the most by this. Or that, we're dealing with a confederacy of dunces. Comparing the protection of public health to fascism is not only inappropriate; it¦#39;s just vulgar to actual victims of actual fascism. Smoking was banned in restaurants and bars in my state in 2003, since then, despite the dire warnings of the Chicken Littles in the restaurant industry, the sky did not fall, and most restaurants are doing quite well without allowing smoking. I was an occasional smoker myself at the time and I used the opportunity to quit and am much better for it. Not to mention, the rate of lung cancer and other smoking related diseases has plummeted. This is one thing that I cannot stand in Germany, that I am forced to smoke other peoples' smoke whenever I enter into an establishment and I am more prone to avoid smoky bars while there. Knowing what we know about the damage caused by cigarette I can't believe the utter ignorance displayed above. The attitude is truly astounding.
17:16 July 6, 2010 by Wilder FX
Die healthly. But lonely!

This anti-smoking movement of wanna-be-healthly and media-manipulated-forever-young hypocritical citizens will lead to a monster exclusion of a BIG PART of society form the social life. Don't socialize, stay at home and watch TV. Society atomisation will be the long term result. People will get even more stressed, will loose contact to each other, will get feelings of exclusion and kafkaesk guiltiness, and finaly loose the - already now very weak - trust into the "ratio" of current elites. Potential for social unrest will grow. Will this help the EU now and in the hard future?

Another point of view. People will eventually smoke outside the bars. There will be more disturbances on the street. Some bars will get closed via complains from neighbours. Less small businesses will be a result. Will this help the EU now and in the hard future?

Some neighbours will be stressed from disturbances on the street, will have lack of sleep and be less concentrated during the day at the work. The smokers outside will get cold in winter and be less productive at work. Will this help the EU now and in the hard future?
17:28 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
OkieinBerlin --

Why the personal attack? I've spent a lot of time in Oklahoma, the buckle of the bible belt, yet I don't attack you personally because you call yourself an Okie. There were some worthwhile Okies, such as Woody Guthrie, who didn't like tyranny any more than I do.

But coming from a backward state like Oklahoma, I can see why you believe that certain people have rights that others don't. That's a dominant theme in Oklahoma politics, along with a devotion to the concept of free enterprise.

But here we are in Germany, which is considerably more civilized. Why, then, do you object to the basic equitable principle of allowing restaurant and bar owners the right to determine whether their establishments should be smoking or non-smoking and then letting the public decide whether they want to patronize such places or not? This is free enterprise in all its glory. If you don't want to go to a restaurant or bar where smoking is allowed, go to one where smoking is not allowed. The market, not the special interests and lifestyle police, will determine the winners and losers. What could be simpler than that?

Unless of course you want to ban smoking altogether, in which case just say so.
17:34 July 6, 2010 by hanskarl
"When it's 30 degrees and the humidity is approaching that of a sauna, take a ride on the S-Bahn or U-Bahn and treat your olfactory senses to the overwhelming combination of cheap perfume, cologne, aftershave and deodorants. "

Er, while I cannot disagree regarding the overkill of some of the cheap olfactory cover-ups and I sympathize with your allergies, the other end of the odoriferous spectra on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn are far more disingenuous. People need to take a bath more often.
17:34 July 6, 2010 by Wilder FX
Freedom First

Let the decision about smoking / non-smoking bar be in the hands of bar owners. If there will be enough non-smokers hanging around bars, the "demand" will create its "supply". Non-smoking bars will appear. This is the basic economics. Otherwise it will be another bureaucratic and non-flexible regulation and killer to the flexibility of market. It will kill small businesses and support the big ones. The ones who can afford to build a mega bar.

As far as i know from my experience. The most hard non-smokers are the people who do not socialize at all. They just don't go out as the week is long. And the smoking ban will not bring them out, as they might believe.

And in parallel. Most social people, hanging around bars, are smokers. Yes, you can make them frustrated and sit at home in the future. What a great future.

p.s. I quit smoking years ago.
18:03 July 6, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Prufrock, There is no personal attack intended in my comments -- only a slight tease. I apologize. I just find your rhetoric overblown. "Oppression of the minority," yesterdays comments about tyranny, "lifestyle police". I can see how proud you are of your purple prose -- I'll try to be more sensitive in the future. But your cheap shots against Oklahoma, well, if it makes you feel better... Anyway, back to civilized Germany. Again, I'll submit that you are being ideologically rigid on this issue -- the civilized German government does not permit bar or restaurant owners to allow rats to run free, or serve rotten food, or wash dishes with cold water. Do you object to such health codes, even in principal? In the interests of public health, voters and others around Germany, and even in that uncivilized state of Oklahoma, are calling for restrictions on this unhealthy practice. Now, we can ignore the reasonable demands of the people, as expressed in Bavaria's legal, democratic referendum and we can let the market run free, "in all its glory," as you claim, and see where that leads us. Personally, though, I'd prefer to stick with the democratic system. To answer your question, though, in principle I don't object to a bar owner's running his bar the way he wants. But when he is fostering unhealthy conditions and is told to stop (by popular consent, even,) I have no problem -- just as I have no problem with other health codes restricting his actions. Unfortunately, this is how civilized societies function -- and even Oklahoma and other uncivilized ones!!
18:14 July 6, 2010 by NYsteve
As a smoker, I have been thru this 3 times (California mid '80's, New York 4-5 years ago and recently here in New Jersey and I have noticed a pattern:

1. Smoker's complain about their rights

2. Restaurant & bar workers who don't smoke fighting for their rights

3. Restaurant & Bar owners complaining they'll lose business

4. Restaurant & bar business drops for a few weeks til the smokers realize they still want to go out and eat & drink

5. Restaurant and bar business goes back to normal

6. Restaurant and bar workers breathing easier

7. Smokers go outside to have a smoke

SO......smokers (and I am one!)....just go with the flow, let the air clear, literally and figuratively.....its good to get up from the bar every hour or so and go outside....the non-smokers who serve you will be so much more friendly....just remember....everything goes back to normal except you have to go outside to smoke...big deal....nothing facsist about it...no one is trying to control anybody...its JUST FOR CLEAN AIR!

Hopefully I didn't p*$$ anyone off, but I have been thru this and believe me...it's painless!!
18:16 July 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
OkieinBerlin --

I'm glad we found at least some areas of agreement -- except that your health code analogy is a stretch.

Incidentally, I was more or less teasing about Oklahoma, too. Aside from the politics, I have found most people I've met there to be friendly and hospitable, and I count many "Okies" among my lifelong friends.
18:34 July 6, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
NYSteve, I agree. Step outside. It's that easy.
22:04 July 6, 2010 by ColoSlim
too many comments about cigs. Duh stop smoking you idiots!
00:00 July 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
ColoSlim --

Thanks for the advice, but I'll smoke if I want to. I'll also continue to be respectful of non-smokers and those who find it offensive, regardless of official regulations.
00:20 July 7, 2010 by claudegaveau
Maybe the smoking ban will result in better health for the population and ease the strain on the health insurance in Germany. Or maybe it will result in people living longer and increasing the strain on the health insurance and pension schemes in Germany. Damned if you do and damned if you don't. Still, I will be happy when the ban comes about. Then I can go out to bars and restaurants and not feel like S*** the next day.
00:26 July 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Whether or not you feel like S*** the next day will probably depend upon your alcohol consumption more than to your exposure to second-hand smoke.

I have a great idea. Let's ban alcohol in bars and restaurants along with smoking. Then everyone will be safe and happy and feel great the next day.
00:32 July 7, 2010 by thequeen09@att.net
I believe that with the smoking ban the government is getting too involed. What happened to choice? Why not let the bars post if it is smoking or non-smoking? If you do not like smoke then do not patronize that establishment. The government should NOT be taking away the freedom of choice. I do not like the smell of beer or wine so I do not patronize bars. I also do not care to be around people who drink so my friends are non drinkers as well. There IS a choice people can make. Use your brain and 2 legs to go elseware instead of complaining. This will not stop smokers. But what would all you drinkers do if the govermnment started banning the almight leagal drug of alcohol?
01:33 July 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
They tried that once in the US. It didn't work out so well.
12:30 July 7, 2010 by scout1067

I am amazed that I actually agree with you on something. This is not about health, it is about control. As if the German government does not have enough control over people's lives as it is.
15:03 July 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I remember when American television was running those insipid PSA spots featuring Nancy Reagan admonishing us to "just say no." Every time I saw that turkey neck on television I rolled a joint.

I would just like the do-gooders to leave the rest of us alone in our lifestyle choices. Period.
22:49 July 7, 2010 by Saprklemahn
Prufrock2010 : I agree with you 100%, but here in Amerika, if there was less demand for drugs like crack, meth, and heroin, there would be less crack, meth, and heroin. Like you, however, I believe drugs should be legalized in order to cut down on organized crime. Nancy was not very smart, but intuitively, she knew what would happen if demand was less. Ever hear of Vrips? Check out Vriptech.com. You will be glad you did.
12:30 July 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Thanks. I've got a couple of vaporizers back in California, as well as a "green card" that allows me to buy it legally. California and a lot of other states have made a lot of progress with the "bud" issue since the repressive Reagan era. Unfortunately, the California anti-tobacco campaign led by "Meathead" Reiner has become the template for do-gooders all over the US and apparently Europe as well. I'd still like to see how much of that tobacco tax money has gone to the kiddies.
14:19 July 8, 2010 by sorochin
Tschuess, Bayern, und L.m.a.A.!
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