• May 26, 2024

Range of options needed

 Range of options needed

The European smokers’ group Forest EU said yesterday it welcomed the scrapping of plans for a ban on smoking in Austria’s bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

The ban, a policy of the outgoing government, was due to come into effect in May 2018.

It was scrapped following talks between the Freedom Party and the People’s Party, which expect to form the next coalition government.

“This is defeat for smokers’ ostracization and a great victory for tolerance,” said Guillaume Périgois, director of Forest EU.

“Governments in Europe must review their smoking ban laws to accommodate smokers without inconveniencing those who don’t want to be exposed to tobacco smoke.

“Options should include separate, properly ventilated smoking rooms, as … is the case in many EU countries such as Austria. Regulations on outdoor smoking shelters should be relaxed so that people can smoke outside in a warm and comfortable environment all year round.”

Périgois called on the European hospitality industry to take a stand, defend its customers and call for the repeal of total indoor smoking bans in Ireland, the UK, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, Spain and Hungary. It should call for the relaxation of national regulations so bars, restaurants and hotels could provide more sheltered outdoor smoking areas.

“Some countries that allow smoking rooms in bars, restaurants and nightclubs make them pointlessly punitive for smokers,” he said. “In Belgium for example, it is forbidden to have a television in smoking rooms. As if a TV could be bothered by tobacco smoke. This nonsense must end as soon as possible.”