Under the new arrangements – a compromise between the needs of smokers and non-smoking passengers – Swiss train stations will have airport-style designated smoking areas. These small areas are discretely marked with blue signs.
At larger train stations with long platforms there will be up to two smoking areas per platform. At mid-sized stations there could be just one such area, while at the smallest stations, the smoking area could be placed near the station entrance.
The smoking of cigarettes and e-cigarettes as well as vaping will be banned completely outside of these areas.
The new system was launched at four stations in the canton of Bern on Tuesday and the central station in the city of Bern is currently being prepared. Smoking areas are set to be introduced at Basel's main station in July and at Zurich's central station in August.
The blue zones should be in place at around 2,000 Swiss train stations by the middle of next year.
At the moment, there are no plans to fine people who don’t follow the rules.
“We expect the rules will be accepted quickly,” the director of Swiss public transport union VÖV, Ueli Stückelberger, said on Tuesday.
This is not about educating people but about greater customer satisfaction and not excluding anybody, he said.
The union director said there had been some complaints – especially from smokers of e-cigarettes, but that the rules were clear. All forms of smoking including e-cigarettes and vaping must be confined to the new designated areas.