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On November 1, it became serious: After years of war, a total smoking ban in the catering industry was imposed.

After it was decided by the red-black coalition, the smoking ban in the blue-blue government gastronomy was tilted again to be decided after the referendum and the affairs of the Ibiza parliament in a game of free forces against the FPO (see chronology).

The smoking ban also applies to what is called "night catering": Yesterday, the Constitutional Court (VfGH) rejected applications from some nightclub owners. They want an exception to the smoking ban, because they fear neighbors will be disturbed by noise pollution from guests who smoke outside the room. In addition, the nightclub has guests in addition to dining restaurants, debated in the application – denied.

Fewer diseases

A team from the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) calculates the economic damage caused by smoking in 2018 at around € 2.4 billion per year. A team of experts led by a social doctor based in Graz, Florian Stigler, assumed that a smoking ban would mean 623 fewer hospital stays in one week. Experts have transferred the experience of other states to Austria. "International studies show that non-smoking catering reduces heart attacks by an average of 15 percent, strokes by 16 percent and pneumonia by 24 percent," Stigler said.

Thomas Stockinger, keynote speaker at the Upper Austrian Chamber of Economy (WK), is worried, however, of a loss. Stammtisch clubs and rounds can retire to the private sector. The "extreme insecurity" was last felt with bar and pub operators too. "It is not clear, for example, how they should design a smoking area that has now been moved outside." The problem of bringing drinks after the garden curfew remains to be resolved.

The fall in sales in the winter

No friend of the total smoking ban is host Harald Katzmayr, who operates the bar restaurant "Pianino" in Linzer Taubenmarkt: "From November 1 I have to send guests out to smoke, so that neighbors in the restaurant area will be affected."

Among the losers was Trafikanten: It was assumed that many guests would rather smoke less than keep going to the door, said Erwin Kerschbaummayr, chairman of Trafikanten at WK Upper Austria. He expects a decline in sales of € 50,000 per domestic tobacconist shop in the "cold" months (from October to May). "Counting all 320 tobacco sellers in Upper Austria, this means around 16 million euros lower in sales," he said.

Still extraordinary is VfGH's decision for further requests: The union of Austrian Shisha bar operators wants to be released from the smoking ban. (Nieg / GSTO)


For more than a quarter of a century it has been struggling for smoke-free catering.

September 6, 1992: Health Minister Michael Außerwinkler (SPÖ) presents the first plan such as a smoke-free area.

April 30, 2008: The Coalition under Chancellor Gusenbauer (SPÖ) presents provisions on the protection of nonsmokers: a smoking ban since 2009.

June 30, 2010: End of transition period for change: Smoking is only allowed in smoking rooms.

April 10, 2015: Government agreement on a general smoking ban from May 2018.

December 11, 2017: ÖVP and FPÖ agree on government negotiations to control smoke in accordance with the "Berlin model": Thus, from May 2018 the original planned absolute smoking ban was out of the ordinary.

June 6, 2019: ÖVP contributes to the protection of non-smokers. Following the end of Turquoise Blue, opposition and health experts called for the withdrawal of the general smoking ban.

July 2, 2019: Smoking in restaurants is prohibited from November. FPÖ's vote on the National Council.



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