German states avoid complete smoking ban

22nd March 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 March 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany's federal states agreed Thursday to ban smoking in restaurants and pubs, but allowed exceptions for small bars and premises with extra smoking rooms. Schools, old people's homes and public buildings are also covered by the proposed ban, which needs the approval of each of the 16 state parliaments before it can come into force. The agreement comes a month after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government approved a smoking ban in trains, taxis and all other public transport.

22 March 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's federal states agreed Thursday to ban smoking in restaurants and pubs, but allowed exceptions for small bars and premises with extra smoking rooms.

Schools, old people's homes and public buildings are also covered by the proposed ban, which needs the approval of each of the 16 state parliaments before it can come into force.

The agreement comes a month after Chancellor Angela Merkel's government approved a smoking ban in trains, taxis and all other public transport.

The no-smoking issue has divided Europe's most populous nation. An attempt by the government late in November to impose a federal ban collapsed on constitutional grounds.

Under Germany's federal system the 16 states and not the Berlin government have power over facilities such as hospitals and schools as well as restaurants and bars.

Under Thursday's agreement, restaurants and large bars or pubs can permit smokers to use designated smoking rooms provided they are closed off by doors from the rest of the public space.

The restrictions fall far short of those in England, Italy, Ireland and other European nations which have already implemented smoking bans in all restaurants and bars.

Germany is Europe's biggest tobacco market with about 16.7 million smokers, or 27 per cent of the adult population, according to official statistics.

Each year there are about 110,000 smoking-related deaths, mainly caused by lung cancer, circulatory ailments and stomach ulcers, says a government report on addiction.

The states' health ministers agreed last month that a complete smoking ban would apply in discotheques and night clubs popular with young people.

Fines for smoking could range from 5 to 1,000 euros (7 to 1,300 dollars) once the federal government bans smoking in transport and federal facilities.

If the upper and lower houses of the German parliament adopt the government-proposed law, it would take effect on September 1.

Most airlines which land in Germany already ban smoking. The German railways restricts smoking to special smoking cars, as the future law will require and smoking is already banned in most municipal buses.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article