Germany Starts to Snuff Out Cigarettes

LIGHTING up in a restaurant is about as sacred to Germans as the right to barrel down an autobahn at breakneck speeds.

You can gag or point to your infant child - but the smoker at the next table might still keep taking drags between bites of bratwurst.

Some German politicians, led by prominent opposition figure Ingrid Matthaeus-Maier, want to put an end to uncontrolled puffing.

They are proposing that smoking be banned at the workplace, in restaurants, in subway cars, and other public places, and that violators be fined.

The Federal Association for the Cigarette Industry, a lobbying group for the tobacco industry, doubts its adversaries will succeed.

``We figure that 70 to 80 percent of the populace is against legal restrictions on smoking,'' says Axel Heim, the group's general manager.

About one-third of the adult populace smokes, and Mr. Heim says Germans see smoking in public places as a democratic freedom.

In Germany, smokers don't usually have to worry about a lecture from a nonsmoker if they draw on a cigarette in public. Unlike in the United States, secondary smoke is not generally viewed as a health threat.

The federal railway has created no-smoking sections on its trains. Lufthansa, the national airline, has done the same on its flights. Some restaurants and offices have followed suit. But there is no law against smoking in public places.

Roland Sauer, a lawmaker with Chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democrats, says he wants to introduce a parliamentary bill this year that would make smokers go to designated areas to light up not only on airplanes, but also on subways, in restaurants, and at the workplace.

Smokers who violate the proposed law would be fined 100 marks ($57). Offending establishments and companies could be fined 5,000 marks (about $2,900).

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK