Switzerland opposes total ban on smoking in enclosed public places
A public vote in Switzerland has led to a call for a total ban on smoking in enclosed public places to be rejected.
In the referendum, the 25 cantons across the nation – bar Geneva – produced a majority of voters who were not in support of a full ban being enforced onto the country.
Details of the results, which were reported on by Geneva newspaper La Tribune de Geneve, reveal that more than 70 per cent of Switzerland’s citizens rejected the ban.
In fact, Geneva was the only canton to buck the trend and voice their support for the ban, though even this was found to be only slightly in favour. 52 per cent supported the ban against 48 per cent who opposed it.
The vote means that people in the process of moving to Europe will still be able to access specified rooms in hotels, bars and restaurants to smoke in if basing their relocation around Switzerland.
Such a debate has split the nation over the past few months, with Geneva and seven other cantons having already imposed their own comprehensive bans on smoking indoors in places of employment.
However, the remaining cantons – the majority of which are smaller in size and population – have been less restrictive when it comes to indoor smoking.
The Swiss Business Federation has been swift to welcome the rejection of a total ban, calling the result “heartening”.
In a statement, the organisation added: “The initiative would have imposed more costs on restaurateurs who have already made considerable investments to protect non-smokers.”
Hotelleriesuisse, a hotel association based in Switzerland, was also pleased that the country’s citizens had opposed the ban, stating that a vote in favour would have made “some investments obsolete”.
There was not widespread joy for the result of the referendum though, with the Swiss Socialist Party declaring that they “deplored” the no vote.
Critics who had called for the referendum said that rooms just for smokers put workers’ health at risk. The Swiss Socialist Party pointed out that a full ban would have “incontestably been a major step in the improvement of (workers’) conditions”.
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