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Smoking ban hits tobacco sales

Five months after the introduction of a nationwide smoking ban in public places, the consumption of cigarettes and cigars in Switzerland has plummeted.

Turnover of tobacco retailers has dropped by up to nine per cent a month and the Federal Customs Administration says the import of tobacco goods fell by 12.8 per cent between May and August, according to a report in the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper.

“This development is positive for the health of everyone,” said Otto Brändli, president of the Zurich Lung League. “On average that’s two to three fewer cigarettes per person per day.”

He added that the development was a “positive side effect” for smokers as well as passive smokers.

On May 1 a law came into force, banning smoking in public spaces, including bars and restaurants, schools, hospitals and shopping malls, across the country.

But there are exceptions: catering outlets can set up staffed smoking rooms with ventilation and small locales of up to 80 square metres may remain open for smokers.

Cantons are free to decree additional regulations and those that already have stricter measures can keep them in place.

However, some argue that Switzerland should have one rule for everyone. The Swiss Lung League has gathered enough signatures in favour of a people’s initiative to ban smoking in all indoor public spaces. It also wants to outlaw staffed fumoirs.


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