More cantons support strict smoking ban

Voters in cantons Basel Country and Uri have backed a smoking ban in public places.

This content was published on May 18, 2009 - 11:30

Smoking will only be allowed in specially designated rooms not served by restaurant staff.

Only in canton Thurgau did a majority of the electorate fail to approve strict restrictions.

In future, restaurants or bars measuring less than 80 square metres in Thurgau can declare themselves open to smokers.

Strict smoking restrictions are in place in about half of Switzerland's 26 cantons. Ten others maintain limited smoking bans while others have no legislation.

On a nationwide level parliament last year approved a limited ban allowing for fumoirs, but it also permits cantons to impose stricter measures.

An alliance of health and consumer groups will launch a peoples' initiative next week aimed at forcing a nationwide vote on a unified law to protect people from passive smoking.

In a related development, the Federal Health Office announced on Monday that the number of smokers in Switzerland has gone down six per cent from 33 to 27 per cent since 2001.

There was a greater decrease among youth. The figure was 31 per cent in 2001 and now stands at 23 per cent. with agencies

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