Following a test phase, Swiss train stations will proceed with a plan to restrict smoking to a maximum of two designated smoking zones per platform starting on June 1 next year, the Swiss Association of Public Transport (UTP) announced on Friday.
The UTP said in a press releaseexternal link that the change should lead to better air quality as well as lower cleaning costs in the stations. The details of the implementation of this regulation will be resolved in the coming months, it added.
The association has been working over the past year with the Swiss transport ministry, Swiss Federal Railways and Rhaetian Railway to test different anti-smoking regulations in six stations across the country, ranging from totally smoke-free stations to stations with smoking zones or lounges.
A study which they carried out revealed that inconveniences caused by smoking – especially smoke and cigarette butts – significantly impact the quality of time spent in Swiss train stations and lead to higher cleaning costs.
Compared to other European countries, smoking regulations in Swiss train stations are extremely liberal. In Britain, France, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain, there is a complete ban on smoking in train stations, while in Germany and Norway, smoking is permitted only in designated zones.
In Switzerland, smoking on trains themselves was prohibited back in 2005. Station buildings became smoke-free but passengers are currently still permitted to smoke on the platforms.