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Senate sends no-smoke signal to restaurants

The Senate has voted against making an exemption for small restaurants and bars if and when a nationwide ban on smoking in public places comes into effect.

Both the Senate and House of Representatives favour such a ban but disagree on whether smaller establishments should nevertheless be allowed to permit smoking on their premises.

The proposal, voted down 25 to 18 by the senators, would allow restaurants and bars measuring less than 100 square metres to be designated as smoking establishments.

Both parliamentary chambers agree that restaurants should be allowed to set up separate, closed smoking rooms on their premises.

The bill on protecting the public from passive smoking was first introduced to parliament in 2004. It now goes back to the House of Representatives.

Smoking in public places has already been banned in a number of cantons, including Ticino and Geneva.

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