Germany stamps out smoking on trains
30 August 2007, Berlin, (AFP) - A total ban on smoking on trains and at more than 5,000 stations will come into effect in Germany on Saturday, state-run rail operator Deutsche Bahn announced on Thursday.
30 August 2007
Berlin, (AFP) - A total ban on smoking on trains and at more than 5,000 stations will come into effect in Germany on Saturday, state-run rail operator Deutsche Bahn announced on Thursday.
Under a law adopted in May, it will also be forbidden as from the weekend to light up in public buildings, while the legal age for buying cigarettes and smoking in public will be raised from 16 to 18.
"We are making progress, step by step, in protecting non-smokers," Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said at a joint press conference with the head of Deutsche Bahn, Hartmut Mehdorn.
Mehdorn said the rail company plans to create smoking areas in the country's 330 biggest stations only, while the rest of the country's roughly 5,700 stations will become tobacco-free zones.
"We know from experience that this will meet with a positive response from the vast majority of our clients," Mehdorn told reporters.
The ban marks a breakthrough for the anti-tobacco lobby in a country that has long been considered one of Europe's havens for smokers as governments on the continent increasingly clamp down on smoking in public places.
In February, Germany's 16 states agreed to a limited smoking ban in restaurants and cafes but left a wide berth for regions to create loopholes.
The press on Thursday said it remains to be seen how strictly police will enforce the new ban applying to trains, stations, public buildings and minors.
"Police in Berlin have more important things to do than to make sure that people do not smoke on trains or that teenagers don't light up in public," Der Tagesspiegel commented.
Subject: German news