Smoking bans have been introduced at six railway stations in Switzerland as part of a 12-month test phase. The Swiss Federal Railways is considering making all of its stations smoke-free.
The six stations taking part in the smoking ban pilot project are Basel, Bellinzona, Chur, Neuchâtel, Nyon and Zürich Stadelhofen.
Smoking in trains was banned in December 2005, but compared with stations in other European countries, those in Switzerland have very liberal smoking regulations. Station buildings became smoke-free but passengers are still permitted to smoke on the platforms.
The Federal Railways says it wants to improve safety and cleanliness at stations. It complains that smoking can be problematic for passengers at stations and that cigarette butts are often thrown onto the track or platforms.
In the 12-month test phase, three non-smoking options will be tried out: a totally smoke-free stations, smoking zones on platforms and smoking lounges. These options will vary between the six test stations. In addition, passengers will be consulted, newspaper reports assessed and reader comments analysed.
The Federal Railways is due to reach a final decision in the middle of 2018 whether to make its stations smoke-free in 2019.
Other European countries such as Britain, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain all have complete smoking bans in stations. In Germany and Norway, one can light up only in designated areas on platforms.