German states okay ban on smoking in restaurants, bars

23rd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 February 2007, Hanover, Germany (dpa) - Ending three months of controversy, officials from Berlin and Germany's 16 states agreed Friday to a nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, but said separate rooms for smokers would be allowed. The no-smoking issue has split Germans. An attempt late in November to impose a federal ban came to grief against the German constitution, which reserves broad powers over commerce to the 16 states. Health ministers from the states met with federal officials Fri

23 February 2007

Hanover, Germany (dpa) - Ending three months of controversy, officials from Berlin and Germany's 16 states agreed Friday to a nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants and bars, but said separate rooms for smokers would be allowed.

The no-smoking issue has split Germans. An attempt late in November to impose a federal ban came to grief against the German constitution, which reserves broad powers over commerce to the 16 states.

Health ministers from the states met with federal officials Friday in the city of Hanover to negotiate terms for a nationwide ban.

They agreed unanimously to ban smoking in public transport, public offices, schools and kindergartens, but left room for exceptions in restaurants and bars. The ban will be inserted in federal labour regulations on protection of staff in the catering trades.

States would be able to set exceptions. Christian Wulff, premier of Lower Saxony state, said it would be up to the public to decide whether to eat and drink in places where smoking was still allowed.

Bars would be allowed to create separate closed-off rooms where patrons could smoke, but a full ban would apply in discotheques and night clubs popular with young people, the health ministers said.

Federal figures indicate 16.7 million of Germany's 82-million population smoke, but the proportion is falling.

DPA

Subject: German news

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