Swiss reject full ban on smoking in public spaces

 
Smoking (file image) Smoking restrictions have been applied unevenly across Swiss cantons

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Voters in Switzerland have rejected a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places at a referendum.

Although Geneva voted slightly in favour, results from the country's other 25 cantons showed a majority of voters rejected a full ban.

Hotels, restaurants and bars are allowed rooms for smokers but critics say workers' health is at risk.

Restrictions introduced two years ago were watered down after lobbying from the catering trade and tobacco firms.

In some cantons, more than 70% of voters rejected the ban, according to Geneva newspaper La Tribune de Geneve. Geneva itself bucked the trend by supporting the ban by 52% to 48%.

Geneva and seven other cantons have already imposed their own comprehensive bans on indoor smoking in places of employment while the remaining, smaller cantons have been less restrictive.

The result was welcomed by the Swiss Business Federation which called it "heartening".

"The initiative would have imposed more costs on restaurateurs who have already made considerable investments to protect non-smokers," it said in a statement.

Result 'deplored'

Swiss hotel association Hotelleriesuisse said it was relieved by the outcome. It said a "yes" vote would have made "some investments obsolete".

The Swiss Socialist party "deplored" the result, saying that better protection against passive smoking would have "incontestably been a major step in the improvement of (workers') conditions".

Speaking before the vote, Jean-Charles Rielle, a doctor and member of the committee behind the proposal, told AFP news agency that they wanted to clear up confusion created by the existing regulations.

"In the cantons where these laws [banning smoking rooms] are already in effect, we saw immediately... a 20% drop in hospitalisation due to cardiovascular incidents, heart attacks and these kinds of problems," he said.

La Tribune de Geneve suggests voters rejected a full ban because they did not want to force the smaller cantons into changing their local laws, and because of resentment at perceived state interference in people's lives.

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 348.

    @335. Off you go then. I'll stay here, where I am not forced to smoke everywhere as used to be the case; in workplaces, in food shops, when trying to eat out, in pubs. it ws revolting. The right to do something is all very well. What if it impinges on someone wlse's right not to do it? Why should smokers have the right to harm my health?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 347.

    333.dancondliffe-"Second hand smoke is dangerous, there's a scientist on youtube - user name C0nc0rdance - who does a great job going through the research on this if anyone's interested.."

    A 'scientist' - what sort?

    'Going through the research'?

    I assume this person is totally objective, that he has no special agenda one way or the other and that he wouldn't dream of 'cherry-picking'?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 346.

    335. Jeremy Lee
    I'm beginning to think that it sounds like the sort of place in which I'd like to live.
    //////
    I lived in Switzerland for 10 years. The quality of life is high, but they are so strict, extremely parochial and people think it's their duty to spy and snitch on their neighbours. There is no flexibility whatsoever. It's a rich version of Eastern Germany.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 345.

    Hasn't anybody has the idea of installing extraction fans in smoking rooms? If that is not good enough for somebody and they want air of a higher purity, they can go and live in the countryside. Job done, next.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 344.

    At least the people are going to get a vote and not be dictated to, unlike ourselves who dont get to vote on any thing, except for a government that never fulfil any of its promises. Their are to many people here that want to force their ideals on to us for what ever reason they choose without reference to those that are affected in the belief that we should be protected by laws from these evils!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 343.

    Its amazing how quickly we get used to restrictions imposed on our everyday lives. Little by little the mission creep advances. One day we will have NO freedom left and it will feel normal.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 342.

    My British American Tobacco shares have doubled in just four years.

    Looks like the bitter, twisted, freedom-hating,anti-smoking zealots are losing.

    But on the other hand, pub chains have been losing a fortune.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 341.

    310.Tony Soprano
    Yes, but remember Jesus didn't smoke!
    To use Hitler as an example of non-smokers is a joke. Stalin smoked and he also murdered many millions.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 340.

    Lets go the whole hog and execute any one that smokes.Then all the self appointed do gooders can pick on someone else.
    How about the fatties that pork out on junk food?
    Car drivers that pollute?
    People that drink alcohol?
    Then the likes of Hugh@122 can live in the pleasant knowledge that all the money saved by the NHS can be spent on nuclear weapons.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 339.

    To those who hate smoking. My apologies. However, I do believe that smoking is being used as a scapegoat to the air we breathe in, which can no longer be pure.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 338.

    306 Birchy

    I won't die of cancer, I'll die of laughing if I see many more posts like yours. "Smoking while pregnant makes the baby immune from lung cancer" . . . oh good grief, that's a gem. Like you say, there's no limit to what people can believe if it suits them.

    Thank you for lightening up a wet and dismal Sunday morning!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 337.

    I always smile as I read the comments by people who want the world to live by their rules and prejudices.

    We need only be given permission by government to demonize one section of the population (any minority will do) and the latent fascist in all of us comes out and condemns then without mercy or understanding.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 336.

    #319
    I wasn't necessarily talking about the UK smoking laws, but generally talking about how much more democratic a non-EU country is than we are.
    And those who say we can veto EU regulations, that power is increasingly being eroded by treaties such as the Lisbon treaty.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 335.

    How good it is to hear that the Swiss look likely to hold back the tide of draconian anti-smoking laws. If you're still allowed to swear in those 18 cantons without fear of arrest, I'm beginning to think that it sounds like the sort of place in which I'd like to live.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 334.

    Well, I'm really really relieved that the BBC is giving this prominence. I worry and fret dreadfully about people smoking in Swiss back rooms while I sit here in England.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 333.

    This is a balance of health and freedom. Second hand smoke is dangerous, there's a scientist on youtube - user name C0nc0rdance - who does a great job going through the research on this if anyone's interested. So the Swiss get to decide if the health risk should be prioritised above people's freedom to smoke in the public. I say since other's can't consent to the risk the smoke causes so ban it.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 332.

    316.SaveourCountry

    Actually I did. I can't help it, that's just the way my body reacts to a lungful of cigarette smoke. If you don't believe me, I'd be more than happy for you to blow smoke in my face and I'll vomit on you! I wish that wasn't what happened but all I'm asking for is some consideration which sadly some people aren't willing to give even when asked politely.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 331.

    318.Jon
    Wants us to ban smoking in UK because he can't stop! - that is not how democracy works Jon.

    The Swiss had a nation-wide referendum and this is their decision, it does not mean that we, as a nation, would arrive at the same conclusion. I would like to see all foreign aid stopped but I doubt the nation would follow me.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 330.

    294. GWHITE
    Is it highly convenient or just me that a country where all the rich live is one of the only true democratic countries in the world?
    ///////
    A country that owes large part of its wealth to one of the most undemocratic countries storing the gold it stole from the people it mass-murdered in its banks? Btw, first indications are that this law won't be passed. A weezy sigh of relief.

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 329.

    Canada has not yet imposed a ban on the home - yours or someone else's (if the someone else permits), but all other enclosed places e.g. pubs, restaurants, stores, etc. have a non-smoking ban. At first if feels restrictive, but it doesn't take long to get used of it, and let's face it non-smokers do not deserve to receive second-hand smoke.

 

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