Smoking ban extended in Germany

31st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

31 August 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A smoking ban in trains and federal buildings comes into force on Saturday, a month after three German states banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

31 August 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A smoking ban in trains and federal buildings comes into force on Saturday, a month after three German states banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

Health Minister Ulla Schmidt said Friday she hoped the ban would send a signal to all smokers.

On Thursday, Schmidt and Deutsche Bahn chief Hartmut Mehdorn symbolically stuck a red stripe across a large smoking sign on a long-distance train at Berlin's main railway station.

In addition to trains, smoking will be banned at all railway stations, except for designated areas on platforms and restaurants with special licences.

The government last year tried to impose a far-reaching smoking ban across the nation, but was forced to drop the idea because the constitution gave many of the powers to the 16 federal states.

On August 1, a ban applying to bars, restaurants, hospitals, schools and public buildings came into force in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lower Saxony, and to hospitals, schools and public places in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, where a smoking ban in restaurants will come into force in 2008.

Cancer society vice president Dagmar Schipanski claimed the restrictions did not go far enough because they allowed for enclosed rooms to be set aside for smokers.

Germany has been discussing a smoking ban for years, but the measures fall far short of the total bans imposed by many of its European neighbours.

Smoking will be banned from September 1 in 450 federal government buildings except in designated smoking rooms. There will be no exceptions in taxis, coaches and trains. Violators face fines of up to 1,000 euros (1,370 dollars).

The remainder of German states are enacting legislation which is expected to come into force later this year or in 2008.

Coming into force with the new smoking ban is a law which outlaws the sale of cigarettes to persons under 18.

dpa

Subject: German news

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