Austria Banned Smoking in Restaurants

EU | November 4, 2019, Monday // 16:22|  views

Smokers in Austria will no longer be able to smoke a cigarette while drinking coffee at local restaurants, bars or cafes. As of 01.11.2019, the smoking is banned under a law passed in the summer, world agencies have reported.

Austria is one of the last European countries to ban smoking in restaurants. About a quarter of Austria's 8.8 million inhabitants are smokers, which is above the European average (18%).

The ban came into force at midnight on October 31. On this occasion, several bars in Vienna had organized "farewell cigarette parties."

In July, the Austrian parliament passed a law against smoking, which also banned smoking in establishments smaller than 50 square meters, which by then could be entirely smokers. 

The only party to oppose the bill was the far-right, which left Sebastian Kurz's ruling coalition last May and thus triggered early elections in September. Previously, the party had forced Kurz to give up plans to ban smoking in establishments. Then 900,000 people signed a petition demanding that Austria cease to be Europe's "ashtray".

Austrian experts say the ban should lead to a 15 percent reduction in heart attacks and a 24 percent reduction in respiratory infections.

Violators of the ban will be fined up to 1,000 euros and establishments - up to 10,000 euros. The ban also applies to electronic cigarettes and hookahs.

In Vienna, a pack of cigarettes costs an average of 5 euros, which is cheaper than most European countries. Austria is the only one of the 35 Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation countries in which the smoker ratio has not decreased since the 1970s.

The last Austrian cigarette factory closed its doors in 2011. It produced local brands Memphis and Smart. The Austrian state-owned tobacco company Austria Tabak was privatized in 2001. However, it remained a market leader until 2016.

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Tags: EU, Austria, smoking, ban, Sebastian Kurz


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