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Politician fights against smoking ban on Swiss rail station platforms

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Politician fights against smoking ban on Swiss rail station platforms
File photo: lucidwaters/Depositphotos
12:22 CET+01:00
A Swiss politician is taking federal rail operator SBB to court, saying the decision to ban smoking on train station platforms goes "too far".
Green-Liberal party member Dietrich Weidmann, a non-smoker himself, told newspaper 20 Minuten he had lodged a complaint with the Zurich district court against SBB's introduction of a partial smoking ban on platforms of stations including Zurich, Basel and Nyon. 
 
The ban is “not valid” and is an affront to the personal freedom of citizens, he said.
 
“SBB doesn't have the right to stop people smoking. It should concentrate on its business and not act as a health guru or moral guide,” he told the paper. 
 
He recognized that smoking inside enclosed spaces and buildings presented a health risk to others, but said banning smoking in outside areas and public spaces went way too far and does not even have a legal basis.
 
However lawyer Thilo Pachmann told the paper that, as owners of the station, SBB have the right to make the rules. But they cannot issue fines to those who flout the smoking ban unless they obtain special authorization first, he added.
 
Currently SBB simply “asks people politely” to obey the rules, a spokesman for the company said. 
 
But Weidmann doesn't seem likely to let the issue go, telling the paper he would take the issue to Switzerland's highest court if necessary. 
 
"Otherwise they'll forbid me from wearing a hat tomorrow," he said.
 
SBB introduced its trial ban on February 1st in six stations. Smoking in underground passages and at lower ground floor level is banned, while four of the six stations have also banned smoking on platforms.
 
After the results have been assessed a smoking ban could eventually be introduced in all SBB stations.
 
Smoking in trains and inside train station buildings was banned back in 2005.
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