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Swiss back smoking ban in public places

Nearly two thirds of the Swiss population wants a smoking ban in restaurants

(Keystone)

A clear majority of the Swiss population is in favour of smoke-free public buildings, according to a survey by Lausanne University.

The study comes a day after the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) announced it would no longer hire smokers.

Three out of four respondents said they would like to see a smoking ban inside public buildings, the compilers of the survey said on Friday. The study was published by the Swiss Anti-Cancer League.

More than 62 per cent supported such a ban at the workplace, with just over 64 per cent wanting to outlaw smoking in restaurants and bars.

The approval rate for a smoking ban is markedly higher among non-smokers, but even a majority of those who like to light up regularly are in favour of a ban in public buildings and at the workplace.

Restaurants and bars

But only 34 per cent of the smokers interviewed approved of a smoking ban in restaurants and bars.

The survey was carried out among 2,000 people in Switzerland, aged 15 to 74. Just over 22 per cent of them said they were smokers.

Fabio Levi, a doctor at the Lausanne University hospital, said passive smoking was a health issue that needed to be addressed urgently.

He called for stricter laws and pointed to the positive impact more restrictive regulations have had in other European countries.

Moves are underway in several regions of Switzerland to amend the law to ban smoking in restaurants. Swiss Federal Railways are introducing a smoking ban on trains later this month.

The Swiss Anti-Cancer League welcomed the result of the survey. It added that an increasing number of people were willing to kick the habit.

WHO: no smokers

In a related development, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would no longer recruit smokers and other tobacco users.

The agency employs around 2,400 people at its headquarters in the Swiss city of Geneva.

Those already working for the WHO would not be affected by the new policy, the agency said in a letter circulated to staff.

"[The] WHO is at the forefront of the global campaign to curb the tobacco epidemic. The organisation has a responsibility to ensure that this is reflected in all its work," the letter said.

Swiss legal experts said that the WHO is free to define its hiring policy. They stressed that under Swiss law discrimination for reasons of gender, race or religion is not permitted.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

2,000 residents in Switzerland, aged 15 to 74, were interviewed for the survey in September.
It was carried out by the Italian research institute, Doxa, on behalf of the institute of social and preventive medicine at Lausanne University.
It was published by the Swiss Anti-Cancer League.

end of infobox

In brief

80% of non-smokers and 62% of smokers approve of a smoking ban in public buildings.

65% of non-smokers and 50% of smokers want a smoking ban at the workplace.

64% of non-smokers approve of a ban in restaurants, but only 34% of smokers support the idea.

end of infobox


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