Puffers' Delight in Germany again (?)

Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 08:52 am
German states must either ban smoking in all restaurants and pubs or relax rules affecting single-room establishments.

Today, he German Federal Constitutional Court ruled that a ban on smoking in small one-room bars in two German states - Berlin and Baden-Württemberg - was discriminatory because similar pubs that had extra rooms were legally allowed to provide one for smokers. Smokers should be permitted in one-room premises too, the court said, in a ruling that is likely to be adopted by other states. (Only Bavaria doesn't seem to follow the ruling ... until now, though they have the strongest laws of all states.)


German Court Partially Overturns Smoking Ban

The smoking ban was partially overturned in two German states on Wednesday after the country's highest court ruled that it put small bars at an unfair disadvantage. The judges ruled that states must now either relax their rules or ban smoking entirely.

Smokers in Germany can celebrate a victory on Wednesday after the country's highest court ruled that the ban on smoking in small bars should be overturned. The Karlsruhe-based Constitutional Court ruled that small one-room bars were at an unfair disadvantage as they could not establish separate smoking areas.

However, the victory could yet prove to be pyrrhic. According to the ruling, were Germany to opt for a complete smoking ban in restaurants and bars -- instead of one allowing for separate smoking rooms -- that would be constitutional. Court President Hans-Jürgen Papier said that the smoking ban would need to be completely redrawn by the end of 2009 -- and German states must then decide to either relax their rules to remove the unfair disadvantage to small bars or ban smoking entirely in all restaurants and pubs.

"Protecting the public from health risks -- whereby the legislator should also take into account passive smoking -- is of paramount importance to the community," Papier said.

Wednesday's ruling upheld a complaint lodged by the owners of two small bars, one in Berlin and one in the city of Tübingen, in Baden-Württemberg, and by the operator of a disco, also in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The three argued that the ban put their businesses at risk. The ruling means that smoking will now be allowed in bars and restaurants of less than 75 square meters and in discos that are open only to adults.

"I now see light again at the end of the tunnel," said Uli Neu, who runs the Tübingen bar Pfauen, after the decision was announced. "My livelihood has been saved."

While smoking is banned nationwide in government buildings, each of the 16 states draws up its own rules on smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places. Wednesday's ruling only dealt specifically with the two states of Berlin and Baden-Württemberg but it is likely to set a precedent for any future complaints from other states. Indeed, most German states have similar rules relating to the provision of dedicated smoking rooms.

Officials in Baden-Württemberg indicated that they would now look into establishing a ban with no exceptions. Monika Stolz, minister of social affairs for the state, said that the state would begin looking into such a law. "We feel validated, but we must make some adjustments," she said.

Sabine Bätzing, responsible for issues relating to drug abuse for the federal government, said "it is a verdict in favor of protecting non-smokers and against exceptions to the law."

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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 30 Jul, 2008 08:54 am
In 2006, the federal government of Germany rejected a proposed nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants out of concern that it would intrude on police powers guaranteed to the states in the wake of federalism reforms approved that summer.
Under the new constitutional reforms, Germany's 16 states have the power to regulate restaurants and businesses.

Elsewhere in Europe, legislatures of England and France have approved nationwide smoking bans in public places.
In the US, voters in three states approved state-wide smoking bans in the 2006 November elections, while Rhode Island amended its smoking ban after a state judge struck down several provisions of the law as irrational and therefore unconstitutional in 2005.
(Courtesy of University of Pittsburgh, School of Law.)


Link to interactive graphic (by spiegel-online)
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Reply Sat 9 Aug, 2008 03:37 pm
Thanks for highlighting this smoker's problem which was not there in Europe before 10 years.
Most of the smokers who got married to non-smokers and live peacefully are fed up with the criminal hypocratical culture.

Banning tobacco and employing as many security officers to keep the law is the best solution.
I am a chain DUNHILL SMOKER and I will die like Chuchill(a sigar smoker) .In Köln I smoke where-ever I go..
Of course my non_smokers friends accept my steadfastness.
Why the hell some are above board while the working class, law-abiding citizens should be curtailed their movement?
If it is not hypocracy- a newfound one- what else?
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