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Basel votes to Ban Smoking

Basel Stadt has voted 27,427 against 24,533 to ban smoking in all Restaurants and public places in the city. Smoking won’t be banned in rooms set aside from the main serving area, but it will be illegal to provide any service in these rooms. No date has yet been set for implementation of the ban, this will be set by the Basel Stadt Cantonal government.

Mr Conti, the Basel Stadt CVP Regierungsrat responsible for the Basel Stadt Health Department, has said that he will wait until after the National Parliament in Bern vote this week on whether or not to introduce a National ban before calling everyone together to discuss implementation of Sunday’s vote.

Gastrosuisse, the Swiss Hotel and Restaurant Association, want to appeal the decision because they see it as a “restraint of free trade” which would be against the Swiss Constitution. They want implementation to be delayed for 2 to 3 years at least, fearing loss of business. This fear is of course contrary to the actual experiences of the catering trade in countries which have introduced a ban.

Of course the catering trade fears they will lose business, but that’s “the glass is half empty” approach. They are forgetting the huge numbers of families who are chased out of restaurants because they do not wish to take their young children into the smoky atmospheres of otherwise very comfortable eateries.

The earliest such a ban might be instigated in Basel Stadt would be 1st January 2009, but this might not actually happen for a year or so after that. Nobody knows.

Baselland has yet to hold its vote but this will take place in the next few months, while this weekend’s Zurich vote was also in favour of a ban. Backwoods hangers in “pro-Wirtschaft” Nidwalden voted against a smoking ban. I thought a Wirtschaft needed customers more than smoke though – only 27% of Swiss people smoke.

Public places include libraries, government offices, restaurants, cafes, shops and so on. Smoking will still be allowed outside, so I am not sure how this will affect beer gardens in the summer…


Comment from Erica
Time 29th September, 2008 at 9:35 pm

This is some of the best news I’ve heard in ages! Fingers crossed it goes through as of January 1. And counter the issue of restaurants, attendance in most of the places I’ve lived has gone UP considerably upon smoking bans.

Hip hip hurrah!

Comment from Matthew
Time 30th September, 2008 at 8:36 am

Good news indeed for us non-smokers and parents of young children…I can see the door of opportunity to new eateries slowly opening with the exception of perhaps Nidwalden. Watching with interest.

Comment from Vanessa
Time 17th February, 2009 at 10:49 am

Brilliant news!

Having just returned from Basel I was really disappointed to see how smoking is accepted. This is very different from the perception I had, and many others have of Switzerland to be a very clean living place. It actually isn’t at all.

I saw little babies in smokey rooms and was quite frankly horrified.

The smoking ban has been in place in the UK for a couple of years and most people have encouraged or at least accepted the change to be progress into making the country a better place. Initially they may have had some financial implications, but they are losing business at the moment by familes and visitors not wanting to frequent the smokey enviroment.

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