Swiss set to vote on proposed smoking ban

Swiss set to vote on proposed smoking ban
Photo: Ta Duc (File)
Voters across Switzerland will decide next month on a national initiative to protect people from second-hand smoke from cigarettes.

The initiative aims to ban smoking in all enclosed public places, including bars, restaurants, hospitals and workplaces.

The proposal will be put to a vote on September 23rd.

Under the initiative, smoking rooms or “fumoirs” would be permitted but only provided no-one, such as a waiter, works in them.

Exceptions would also be made for private rooms and individual workspaces as long as other people are not required to use these spaces.

Such legislation already exists in eight Swiss cantons.

Defenders of the proposed law for protection against “passive smoking” gathered more than 116,000 signatures back in May 2010 to put the initiative to a vote.

However, a majority of politicians in the upper and lower houses of parliament are opposed to such legislation.

Daniel Fässler, an MP from the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden, said that imposing such a national rule on smoking would be contrary to the country’s spirit of federalism that grants cantons powers to make their own laws in such areas.

Other politicians have raised concerns about the impact such a national law would have on the restaurant and hotel industry.

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