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Pub smoking still widespread despite ban

The Local · 3 May 2011, 15:15

Published: 03 May 2011 15:15 GMT+02:00

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The German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) surveyed nearly 3,000 eating and drinking venues in 10 major cities and found that complex and numerous exemptions are being widely exploited to allow smoking to continue.

“People who want to drink a beer in the evening must in many areas search around if they don’t want to be exposed to passive smoking,” the centre said in a statement. “The same applies to gambling venues.”

In the largest ever study into the effectiveness of state smoking bans, the centre found that smoking still went on in more than 90 percent of gambling halls. And 8 percent of restaurants also still allowed smoking, generally in clear breach of state laws.

“The state laws on anti-smoking protection must be regarded as having failed,” said Stefanie Seltmann of the DKFZ.

Non-smokers were still being exposed to passive smoke, the centre said. The survey also found that smoking clubs are for most part not properly signposted and often even a notice saying the club is restricted to people aged over 18 is missing.

Since August 2007, laws have been gradually introduced in all German states to protect people against passive smoke. However many exemptions exist.

Düsseldorf had the most smoking bars and also the most breaches of the law compelling drinking venues to post signs saying the allow smoking. There, 41 percent of all hospitality venues – from restaurants to gambling halls – are filled with blue haze.

Munich came out on top. A general smoking ban has been in force there since August 2010. Yet even here, 17 percent of bars make use of the single exception that is still possible in Bavaria – that smoking is permitted in private clubs or associations.

“The large number and complexity of the exemptions have led to a situation in which adherence to the smoking bans in the hospitality sector is barely controlled,” the DKFZ’s Ute Mons said.

Story continues below…

The DKFZ is calling for uniform regulations against smoking across the country.

The centre surveyed nearly 3,000 drinking venues during February and March in major 10 cities: Berlin, Munich, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Kiel, Mainz, Magdeburg, Schwerin, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden.

The Local/DAPD

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:55 May 3, 2011 by tallady
There is no enforcement, a law to be broken at will.
16:37 May 3, 2011 by beatlebum
Smoking ban, what smoking ban... its ridiculous and an embarrassment to the rest of Europe. I live in Berlin and it is almost impossible to go into a bar without smoking, smokers tend to get loud about their rights in Berlin but this does mean that the non smoker should have no rights at all then. The government are just afraid to stand up to the smoking cartels here and still offer cheap cigarettes for sale. Can't see if changing too quickly no when the people themselves don't want the ban, almost 50% per cent of Berliners smoke (feels like 90%)
18:59 May 3, 2011 by Zlik
Yes It too must refrain from puffing in others airspace but, Since April 23 2011 smoking is outlawed in Central Park NYC and every other Park in five boroughs so Stay in Berlin you smokers. You know who you are.
19:07 May 3, 2011 by Landmine
Drugs are illeagal, but do you see that come to an end? People smoke when they drink, the two just go together and I don't think any law is ever going to change that. For those that don't like it, you may have the law on your side but as once can see from the article, it means little. Go somewhere else, as a last resort, it is legal to have an open container in the street...
19:13 May 3, 2011 by domoresti
Ban dogs in bars and restaurants and then I'll stub out.
19:23 May 3, 2011 by vonkoenigsberg
Are you kidding me? Who are the people complaining about this? I am a Berlin smoker, and noe one has ever said anything to me about being bothered or upset that I was smoking inside. I was here on December 31st, 2007, the last day to smoke in public before the new laws. Everyone was smoking then, an indicator as to how much people wanted to retain their rights and go against these so-called laws. It is indeed embarassing for Germans to have these anti-smoking laws BeatleBum (nice name btw, big Blur fan?)- heavily influenced by the U.S. laws - when smoking is so ubiquitous in our culture. The government should stop trying to meddle in people's lives in the name of "progressive law-making".
19:32 May 3, 2011 by toemag
okay, as this ban isn't working, looks like we'll have to ban pubs and clubs etc.
22:16 May 3, 2011 by slawek
Yeah, being exposed to passive smoke has become a dangerous matter in the last couple of years since the 2007 ban.

Especially the risk of a heart attack is highest among hypochondriacs and also the risks of panic attacks among the general non-smoking population went dangerously up. And this is all thanks to the hysteria spreading campaign against smoking.
23:03 May 3, 2011 by Dlocal
more than 4 out of 5 corner pubs and bars still have patrons smoking inside.................mathematicllay it would actually mean ALL bars still allow smoking....
23:25 May 3, 2011 by pepsionice
I had a chance to listen into a pub owner discussing his operation under a no-smoking period and then the financial analysis of that period. The smokers came in, had one beer, and left because they couldn't handle the idea of a second beer without the smoke. The non-smokers? They drunk the same amount as before. So he added up the losses and then realized how screwed up this would be for his future. In a town of sixty pubs....he figured at least a dozen would fall apart within eighteen months with this loss. He set aside an area at the front of the pub with an enclosed area for non-smokers (big enough for a dozen folks), and then left open the rest of the pub for the other thirty potential drinkers. His business numbers went back to normal as he allowed the smokers to continue smokers.
23:31 May 3, 2011 by wxman
I like the German attitude. In the US, when liberty-restrictive laws like this are passed, everybody complains about the creeping lack of freedom, but obeys the law anyway. In Germany, they simply ignore it!
00:12 May 4, 2011 by Wobinidan
"Non-smokers were still being exposed to passive smoke, the centre said."

Well, maybe they shouldn't go to a bar where people are smoking, but instead go to one of the many, many bars where smoking is either banned, or there is a ventilated smoking room. I have to smell peoples farts if I walk around with my face against their asses, but that's a personal decision I have to live with.
04:56 May 4, 2011 by jmclewis
Pubs, used to be places for adults to consume unlimited amounts of alcohol, fornicate in a rented room upstairs, gamble, fight and smoke. In most of the world gone is the sex, gambling, fighting, smoking and the heavy consumption of booze is frowned upon. It is so nice the progressives want to dictate the lives of others........... It would be nice if Darwinism would be allowed to function.
09:43 May 4, 2011 by Fatz Lewinski
Smoking is bad for your health. I think we have general concesus there. So if you smoke you make a life choice and take on that risk. And I think that's ok too.

1) Should you then impact others with your choice.

2) Should others pay for your health care costs associated with that choice? Seems we have no option!

Now please don't throw in comments about tobacco taxes, they don't fund health care, medical insurance does. So really, smokers seem to get off lightly.

But then there are the poor bars and restaurant owners! After Ireland introduced its ban I am informed that 25% of bars closed due to loss of income. Which is strange because I've never noticed a shortage of bars in Ireland or of people to go in them so it's a straightforward supply and demand issue - there were too many bars with a precarious business plan.

All we need to solve this is strong government. Won't find that the with the two ladies we have running the show.
12:10 May 4, 2011 by kjello
Ban all smoking in public spaces all over Germany NOW! NO EXEPTIONS!

Why are they so afraid of standing up to this law in this country?
14:30 May 4, 2011 by willowsdad
Fatz: Germany had a famous little experiment with "strong government" from 1933 to 1945, one reason many Germans today sre understandably leary about bringing it back.

1. how much others are impacted is not conclusive. Last I heard, attendance in pubs is not compulsory. Also, pub owners do listen to what their patrons want and if enough people demand smokefree pubs, or areas therein, they will exist without government intervention.

2. what exactly do the tobacco taxes go for and why aren't they going to the supposedly higher costs for smokers? I assume you want smokers to pay more for health care. Will this apply to other risky lifestyle choices? Like drinking alcohol? Eating the "wrong" foods? Skydiving?
20:08 May 4, 2011 by Englishted
12:10 May 4, 2011 by kjello

Ban all smoking in public spaces all over Germany NOW! NO EXEPTIONS!

Why are they so afraid of standing up to this law in this country?

Because they don't want it .

Why go into a pub with smoking if you don't want smoke ?.

If I wanted to smoke would I go into a non smoking pub?

"Anything not forbidden, is compulsory"
11:22 May 5, 2011 by Angry Ami
More of this nonsense, you may smoke in a pub where no food is served, and when the weather is good most people sit outside anyway

and @beatlebum there are plenty of non smoking pubs in Berlin, all you need to do is to look for them, or you have the option of going to a restaurant with a bar where it's non smoking anyway, maybe a little more effort is called for.
16:08 May 5, 2011 by Al uk
It's the one thing i do not miss in pubs now. So much better for a night out or even a swift pint.

Stub it out NOW!
11:32 May 6, 2011 by Fatz Lewinski

Playing the Nazi card is inappropriate and lacks imagination. Btw, this tactic didn't work when used as a tool against the smoking ban either.

As to pub owners. Unrelistic expectation to rely on pub owners to decide this. They will follow the least path of resistance which is do nothing.

No I do not want smokers to pay more for health care. Yes I do want smokers to pay more for health insurance! The risks are higher so the premiums should be accordingly higher.
17:44 May 6, 2011 by supine
The drive to ban smoking in Australia only really gained strength when those working in pubs and clubs used occupational health and safety laws requiring a "safe working environment". I'm surprised the same approach hasn't been used here given the German predilection for rules and regulations.
08:52 May 7, 2011 by JPaul
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
02:34 May 8, 2011 by willowsdad
Fatz: Unimaginative, perhaps, but hardly inappropriate. Maybe you, like many, learned about nazism from Hollywood, but if you'll read up, you'll discover they were in fact all about transforming Germany into the clean, fit, healthy "master race" they envisioned, by coersion and force if necessary. They were huge antismokers and the evils of tobacco was one of Hitler's favorite topics with which to bore his guests after dinner. Germany is still far more "raucherfreundlich" than many other countries, as this article attests, so maybe evoking the goose-steppers does work to some degree. What part of Germany did you say you live in?

Perhaps some pub owners take the easiest route, but in my experience most of them want to make money. And if lots of people want smoke-free pubs, those with their ears to the ground will open them. But apperently, pub goers are mostly either smokers or tolerant nonsmokers.

OK, smokers will pay more for insurance (in the US they already do so), and to make it fair, so will drinkers and those who eat of the growing list of "unhealthy" foods, motorcylce riders, participants in "dangerous" sports, etc. etc. etc. We'll create scores of jobs hiring "lifestyle police" to go around and record what risky activities everyone is up to (and inspecting the fridge) and assessing premuims accordingly.

You still haven't enlightened me as to where the tobacco tax revenues go. Some of the energy used to impose bans might better be used to make sure it goes to health care.

Supine: I'm curious--did actual bar employees claim that their health was endangered and if so what percentage? Usually bar workers oppose bans because they kill business, although there are always one or two touted by the antismokng lobby.

Not to mention that the "science" on secondhand smoke is far from conclusive.

JPaul: Great post. Actually, in at least one state, restaurants aren't supposed to serve patrons over a certain weight. Smokers and fat people are the two minorities it's still OK to openly hate...
06:36 May 8, 2011 by Canadian Dad
Most smokers are rude ill-mannered inconsiderate boors who don't give a damn about anybody but themselves. They are drug addicts who refuse to admit it. You think I shouldn't complain if you smoke in my face - fine, then you shouldn't mind if I pee on your leg.
20:53 May 8, 2011 by willowsdad
Canadian Dad: I guess that like most bigots you don't really know anyone in the group you hate.

Comparing smoking to peeing, defecating, etc. is, as Fatz Lewinski would doubtless inform us, inappropriate and lacks imagination.

Are you the inspiration for the Canadian tourist in "In Bruges"?
22:25 May 8, 2011 by kaiserbill
Same old clichés here. It's interesting that Germany is the only country where a smoking ban has partially failed.

Why? The lack of a zero tolerance culture and a failure to treat a pub as a place of work. Fact - if levels of poison were found in a German factory as in a corner pub in winter (closed windows - Germans and drafts is another story), the factory would be closed directly. End of argument. Now stop talking about 'rights', and why don't the government ban chocolate etc etc. You have lost the argument. And as for the bozo who claimed there is no evidence for passive smoking having negative effects, the research goes back to the 1920s.

German needs to import zero tolerance and handle graffiti and spitting too. It works elsewhere.
14:28 May 9, 2011 by willowsdad
Kaiserbill: I was always taught that tolerance was a GOOD thing and intolerance wasn't. BTW, Germany is not the only country to resist smoking bans. The Greek government is famous for its inability to force something on its people that they don't want. The Netherlands also recently dealt a setback to the antismoking jihad by allowing small bars to allow smoking. Croatia, Macedonia, Bulgaria have backed off bans.

"Levels of poison" ae found everywhere; the question is how harmful they are. Pretty obviously if tobacco smoke were seriously harmful, you'd see the Japanese, Greeks and Germans living much shorter lives than the Americans and British. That's not quite the case. Also, as smoking has declined, the incidence of lots of diseases blamed on smoking has increased. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in the US has no regualtions or guidelines on secondhand smoke. It's purely a poitical construct.

I wonder what makes you think you are in a position to decide who has won or lost the argument. Or that the argument has clear, unambiguous winners and losers. You must be the sort of narrow-minded, binary thinking individual who believes in "zero tolerance".
16:28 May 9, 2011 by Bruno53
If Germans want to continue dying from hear disease and lung cancers, that's their problem.
00:22 May 11, 2011 by willowsdad
Bruno: we all die of something sooner or later and Germans as a whole die later than either Americans or Brits, both of whose countries have lower rates of smoking.
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