Swiss train stations to go partially smoke-free
Smoking openly inside Swiss train stations will be banned from 1 June 2019.
From this date on, smokers will have to use designated smoking areas or smoke in front of the train station.
This development comes following three different types of smoking trials, implemented by the Association of Public Transport (VöV), in six Swiss stations on 1 February 2018.
These tests saw Basel, Nyon and Zurich Stadelhofen go completely smoke-free, while smoking areas and lounges were introduced in Bellinzona and in Neuchâtel respectively.
Better air quality, less pollution and saving money on cleaning are being cited as the key reasons behind the smoking ban decision.
The number of smoking areas to be introduced will depend on the size of platforms, though initially it appears there will be no more than two smoking areas per platform.
Smoking has long been a criticism of SBB users and, in a poll conducted earlier this year by The Local, the fact that people can still smoke on platforms was among the most citied issues.
No butts about it: majority want change
As well as frequent complaints, 75% of people polled on the issue of smoking in stations said they wanted to see a change (i.e. no smoking).
Ueli Stückelberger, the director of the Association of Public Transport - which is implementing the ban and carried out the poll - said the results had surprised him.
Compared to many European counterparts, Swiss train stations have long been seen as having relaxed smoking regulations.
The details of the smoking ban will be finalised over the coming months, with specific attention being paid to the way smoking areas are marked - in order to ensure the new measure can be implemented in smaller stations.
A complete ban on smoking was not chosen on the basis of not offending people.