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

    Comment number 488.

    >> "Do you think Switzerland will take me as an assylum seeker - what a great country. Beautifully clean, trains run on time, etc., etc., and democratic."

    They're in the schengen area (EU border free area), and the UK are in the EU (albeit not schengen).

    That overlap means you can go and live and work in Switzerland and don't even need to be an asylum seeker.

    Isn't the EU fantastic!

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    and if I walk around in town there is nowhere to escape from the whiff of tobacco fumes.

    You must live in a very,very,very small town.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    Smokers who complain about the smoking bans are drug addicts in denial.

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    Diesel cars damage human health but I don't see these being banned.

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.

    If only we had referenda instead of distant, out of touch "representatives", who are in it purely for the party donors.

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    The sooner smoking is banned by first world countries the better. It is a pernicious drug habit and we should help people kick their habit by making it socially unacceptable to smoke and give them help with withdrawing from what is a teriible suite of harmful substances.

    When you inhale smoke you inhale a powerful blend of carbon monoxide, nicotine and a range of carcinogens.

    Ban tobacco.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Swiss voters reject tougher smoking laws.
    Well done. Businesses will still be able to offer a choice. Consumers will still be able to socialise in comfort and jobs will be saved. That,s how it should be. Well done the Swiss population for using common sense.
    Pity it does,nt apply here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.


    To be fair a whiff here & there on the night air is not even remotely on the smae scale as the sitting in a room absolutely full of it all night long - there has to be somewhere for us idiots who smoke & can't seem to quit to indulge our habit & most of us are happy that's it outside.

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    The sooner the UK Government bans the sale of contraceptives, cars, fatty foods, industrial chemicals, football and sporting venues, obesity, loud noises incl sirens, dangerous sports etc the better...All participants of the above should be forced to not use the NHS and take out private Insurance in case of damage or injury to others....oh..add old age and pets..and children as a whole...oh and...

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    466. Earlthecat

    You completely missed the point!! I used the word 'automatically'. Standing next to a drinker or an old person does not AUTOMATICALLY harm you. Standing next to a smoker does because you AUTOMATICALLY inhale their smoke!! grrrr

    However, I agree about the harm of drinking to EXCESS. This is a different issue to PASSIVE smoking but must also be avoided, if not legally controlled.

  • rate this

    Comment number 478.

    To those that say alcohol has less of an impact on innocent bystanders, I must say that it is quite intimidating to walk past a local pub full of drunk BNP/EDL-supporting Neo-Nazis. I generally cross the road to avoid the entrance.
    Much as I hate smoking, the ban we now have has just driven it outside, and if I walk around in town there is nowhere to escape from the whiff of tobacco fumes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 477.

    For banning smoking in public places seems a must for the reason that I felt for myself very recently inside an estate agency office where some people were smoking making me feel quite discomfort by the passive smoke expelled there. Hence Ban on smoking in public places is highly desirable..

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • rate this

    Comment number 476.


    so after all the tax that smokers have paid over the years you want to ban smoking altogether then deny nhs treatment to the smoker ! Smokers have paid way more into the nhs pot than non smokers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 475.

    Will smoking bans mean the NHS saves money? Everyone dies of something - someone who might have died of lung disease may now die of another cancer, or suffer a lingering death from dementia. At least with smoking related disease the smokers paid lots of money into the system through tax . I'd like to see a proper analysis of this.

    468 Emily - I was one of those kids :-(

  • rate this

    Comment number 474.

    Smokers often use the excuse, "you are doing to die anyway". But they forget that it's about quality, your body brakes down much sooner, resulting in disease, lack of energy, and other impairments that get in the way of you living your life in the final decades. Healthy people who look after their diet etc almost always stay healthy right up to the end. This is proven by many studies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 473.

    " The sooner the UK Government bans the sale of tobacco and outlaws smoking in all public places the better for everybody. Thereafter smokers should be made to take out private medical insurance and prevented from using the NHS"
    Hugh - 12 billion in revenue, replaced how exactly?

  • rate this

    Comment number 472.

    460. jim holland
    "this will not be shown as people will not allow freedom of speach either"

    Does the fact is HAS been shown do anything to help you realise that life is not just one great big conspiracy theory?

  • rate this

    Comment number 471.

    Smokers now have designated areas,in which to smoke.If you dont smoke,why are you there? As for smoking in public places the give away is in the title,Public,not only for everyone who doesn't smoke.As for smoking in enclosed public places,it just hasn't existed in England since July 2007.To all non smokers,I won't make choices for you,please don't assume you can make them for me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 470.

    I do not deserve to have car fumes, cheap deodarants, harmful cleaning products, children, dogs, loud conversation or music, flickering neon lights, industrial generator hums, kitchen food smells, blaring sirens, intrusive security, obnoxious officials, imposed on me but they are and there is little I can do except avoid them and their potentially deadly effects....Give me my 'clean' space!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 469.

    122. Hugh
    "Thereafter smokers should be made to take out private medical insurance and prevented from using the NHS."

    I suppose that's fair as long as the government refunds about 30% of all the income tax smokers have paid over the years that has gone into the NHS - To expensive ??? - thought so.


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