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
    +6

    Comment number 468.

    It's a shame that any children that have to live in smokers' fume filled houses have absolutely no say whatsoever.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 467.

    I wasn't talking about those things in relation to public health but rather costs. Clearly standing next to an elderly person is not going to effect your health. I'm a respectful smoker & ask those around me if they mind me smoking. My objection is not to a ban in enclosed public spaces but those who call for a complete ban. And for those who say pollution as no effect, try living in Shanghai.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 466.

    WINDBLOWN 455...reason smoking in enclosed public places is being singled out, rather than drinking alcohol or aging, is that the latter two activities are not intrinsically harmful to bystanders.

    My daughter is a paramedic. Go tell her that alcohol is not harmful to bystanders. I think you will find that smoking is far less life changing and damaging to others, eg Domestic violence and murder!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 465.

    448.RememberScarborough asks "...why can't some pubs be set up especially for smokers"

    In the 70s and early 80s it ALWAYS eemed the case that the smoking minority ruled and one smoker in the group meant that everyone had to sit in the smoking area so as not to upset the smoker. If you were 'of age' in the 70s then I'm sure you would remember this.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 464.

    "jim holland
    we have to do as we are told by our goverment sounds like comunisum does'nt it welcome to england"

    Most western democracies across Europe, the USA and elsewhere have imposed constraints on smoking in public places. This policy is not confined to "england". Indeed, why is a policy that only 20% of the population are adversely affected by "undemocratic" or "communism"?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 463.

    Crikey the smoker's bus must have just stopped by! Supporters of the victims of passive smoking are getting a lot of negative votes just now. Don't worry guys, non-smokers will be getting home from the gym any minute now. lol

    @455 windblown

    Good point. We are getting a lot of sloppy reasoning and debating skill from the smoking lobby today.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 462.

    Having been a smoker, and now a non-smoker who can't stand the smell, I completely agree that the ban should be enforced properly.

    Smoking in enclosed public places is inconsiderate at best. However, a total ban is just as fascist as the smokers who refuse to see the problem.

    No-one is worth more, or have more rights, than anyone else. Just be considerate like a reasonable human being should be.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 461.

    Slightly off topic but does anyone know the number of people employed by tobacco control or receiving money from Pharmaceudical companies or receiving grants from our government ( taxpayers money ) total amount in this country?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 460.

    at least some countries get a vote we did not we have to do as we are told by our goverment sounds like comunisum does'nt it welcome to england this will not be shown as people will not allow freedom of speach either

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 459.

    At least the people get a chance to vote unlike here in the UK where decisions are usually made by some jobsworth.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 458.

    The referendum on FURTHER tightening of smoking restrictions has been rejected by the Swiss. 66% said NO. Only one Canton, Geneva, said Yes. Great result. This means that people will continue to have a choice. If you don't like smoke, it might be a good idea to avoid SMOKING bars. These are the bars with FUMOIR written in big red letters on the doors.

  • Comment number 457.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 456.

    The UK has it right, you are free to smoke if you choose to do so but are restricted to prevent discomfort to the majority non-smokers. Information is available regarding the dangers of smoking (and drinking). UK smokers have respected the lawful restrictions placed upon them. It is still legal to smoke (I don’t) and drink (I do). The health freaks will ban every little vice if you let them.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 455.

    446. kl

    The reason smoking in enclosed public places is being singled out, rather than drinking alcohol or aging, is that the latter two activities are not intrinsically harmful to bystanders. Being near an old person or someone drinking a glass of beer or wine does not automatically harm your health.

    The cost to the NHS of smoking, aging and excessive drinking are secondary considerations.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 454.

    The car fumes argument is daft. When I can drive into your favourite restaurant and leave the engine running it may make more sense.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 453.

    #122
    The EU should do nothing of the sort. It should keep its nose out of what should be individual nations' business. I am anti-smoking myself, but if any ban is to be exercised it should be done democratically at the discretion of individual nations (not that they'll be around for much longer, unless we have a straight in/out referendum). If the public are so pro-EU, why are you so scared?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 452.

    There may be a ban in Germany but it is not enforced - if you ask someone to stop smoking you are accused of being a Nazi.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 451.

    Second, second hand smoke.Pollution is just as bad for your health in fact if you live in large cities often worse & also effects the environment in general. I admit that smoking is not good for my health, but it is my choice. I have not eaten myself to obesity. I do not drink to excess. I am sick of the increasing taxes and restrictions and the redundant and condescending arguments used.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 450.

    448.RememberScarborough

    Me too - having to go outside means I smoke a lot less during an evening in the pub & I'd certainly avoid said pubs if they did come into being, as I suspect would most of my fellow smokers.....it really does only seem to be a millitant minority who rant & rave about this issue......

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 449.

    A referendum? Democracy?? Such things are obscenities in plutocratic slave-state Britain.

 

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