Germany-wide smoking ban 'may not be possible'

4th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 December 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Two days after Germany's ruling parties agreed to ban smoking in trains, public buildings and discotheques, but not in bars, officials cautioned Sunday that the federal government may lack the legal power to impose such a ban. The 16 states of Germany have extensive rights that cannot be overridden by Berlin. The Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag said senior Christian Democrat and Social Democrat officials who agreed Friday to the ban were asking the government to stu

4 December 2006

Berlin (dpa) - Two days after Germany's ruling parties agreed to ban smoking in trains, public buildings and discotheques, but not in bars, officials cautioned Sunday that the federal government may lack the legal power to impose such a ban.

The 16 states of Germany have extensive rights that cannot be overridden by Berlin.

The Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag said senior Christian Democrat and Social Democrat officials who agreed Friday to the ban were asking the government to study whether a nationwide smoking ban would survive challenge in the courts from tobacco users.

Rupert Scholz, a Berlin constitutional lawyer and former minister, warned that the federal government could not for example regulate how people behaved in the offices of state or local governments.

On Friday, the federal government's spokesman, Thomas Steg, stressed the federal government also had no authority over schools.

The two coalition parties said Friday they would recommend parliament vote on a compromise ban, applying to public transport and public buildings including schools, hospitals and government offices.

Smoking would be banned in nightclubs, but not in bars and pubs. Restaurants would have to provide no-smoking areas.

In Italy, Ireland and Scotland, smoking has been banned in pubs and bars. France and England are planning similar bans soon.

DPA

Subject: German news

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