“It was really a shame,” she says, particularly because the status quo has been an embarrassment. “A ban is a ban.” A maître d’ in nearby Fabios said the popular Italian restaurant-bar had gone smoke-free a year ago with little impact on its bottom line. The smoking taboo, which spread throughout much of the West over the last 30 years, seems to have skipped over Austria. Sixty percent of the city’s residents live in government-subsidized housing — something politicians routinely boast about. Part of this lag was due to an enormous conflict of interest at the heart of regulating tobacco here: The country’s tobacco industry was dominated by Austria Tabak, a state monopoly that controlled the production and distribution of cigarettes. Figures from mid-November say that inspectors carried out more than 2,000 checks of restaurants and reported 27 breaches of the ban. I’ve seen pregnant women lighting up as well as kids who look like they haven’t reached puberty. VideoThe refugees feeding a nation, playThe biggest selling single of all time. In my pub, you had the very old rooms at the front, with the bar, with the taste of smoke and alcohol. Smaller outfits could opt out altogether, allowing people to keep smoking. Shisha bars are currently taking legal steps to try to get an exception for their businesses. “This tobacco monopoly was unbelievably powerful,” Kunze says, “politically and also as far as money was concerned.” Only in 1997, was Austrian Tabak privatized, and then in 2001, sold off to Britain’s Gallaher Group, another cigarette group, for $1.6 billion. .css-14iz86j-BoldText{font-weight:bold;}Austria was once dubbed "the ashtray of Europe" but has finally banned smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes. The far-right party, led at the time by an avid smoker named Heinz-Christian Strache, rallied around the idea that smoking, like speeding on the highway, was a personal freedom — one the country’s already considerable nanny state shouldn’t be allowed to intervene in. VideoThe biggest selling single of all time. We used to have to work in the smoking area. I’ve been served by a waiter with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Parliament on Tuesday passed a ban on smoking in Austria's bars and restaurants, extinguishing a flagship policy of the recently collapsed right-wing … And until a few weeks ago, it would have been full of cigarette smoke. And we feel a bit healthier, a bit less of a headache.". Read about our approach to external linking. We want to add 2,020 more founding contributors to our supporter base by the end of the year. Austria had been on the … In order for Austrian moms to qualify for their sizable child benefit, they have to prove they submitted to a series of maternal health exams by having their doctors fill out a booklet — the Mutter-Kind Pass — and submitting it to the state. “I’m working with [people from] developing countries and when they visit, they can’t believe you can go into restaurants and smoke everywhere.”. “There’s even more discussion about sugar taxes here.” He thinks this is mostly a political failure, though the strong coffee house tradition hasn’t helped. The ban is symbolic of the Austrian tendency of trying to “control everything to death,” argued Peter Dobcak, the tourism and leisure chair of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. He thinks people will come back to the night clubs, like they did in France, Italy and other countries which have introduced smoking bans. The clothes smell better the next day. A petition to ban smoking in Austria’s bars and restaurants has managed to collect more than 200,000 signatures since 15 February, and the issue will now have to be debated in parliament. 27 December 2019. image caption The door to … If you want to smoke, fine - your decision if you want to get lung cancer. “[This was] a typical ‘Austrian solution’ as we would say here,” says Jakob-Moritz Eberl, a political science researcher at the University of Vienna. "Maybe I am a bit sentimental. Coalition governments are common, he explained, and two parties need to come to a consensus on policies. Austria should not be called the „Europe’s ashtray“ anymore. “[It’s] important to see all countries introducing a smoke-free legislation with no further delay,” she said in a statement to Vox. Parliamentarians approved the ban in July in a bid to rid Austria of its status as the " People prefer to meet their friends in a pub or in a bar," he said. In May 2018, a smoking ban was scheduled to begin in all bars and restaurants in Austria; however, the ban was recently overturned by lawmakers from a new ruling coalition in the … Smoking is not permitted inside trains, trams, buses and other enclosed forms of public transport (such as taxis and hire cars). Customers wishing to eat in the non-smoking area at the back had to walk through the smoky bar to get there. The smoking ban exists mainly for health reasons. For now, even the cigarette ban will continue to face challenges, Dobcak told Vox. .css-orcmk8-HeadlineContainer{display:-webkit-box;display:-webkit-flex;display:-ms-flexbox;display:flex;-webkit-box-pack:justify;-webkit-justify-content:space-between;-ms-flex-pack:justify;justify-content:space-between;}Nashville explosion: Camper van blows up in 'intentional act'.css-1dedj2h-Rank{-webkit-align-self:center;-ms-flex-item-align:center;align-self:center;color:#B80000;margin-left:3.125rem;}1, Queen's Christmas speech: 'You are not alone'3, Russian historian jailed for dismembering partner4, Brexit trade deal: What were the big themes in the talks?5, Australian expeditioner evacuated from Antarctica in five-day mission6, Boko Haram kill villagers in Christmas Eve attack7, Michael Jackson: Neverland Ranch 'sold to billionaire for $22m'8, Bridgerton: Everything you need to know about the Netflix drama9, Brexit: What you need to know about the UK leaving the EU10. “There’s no discussion [in Austria] about tobacco taxes,” says University of Vienna’s Jakob-Moritz Eberl. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. Support from our readers helps us rely less on advertising, and keep our resource-intensive work free for everyone who needs it. People, the tourists, expect it.”. Viennese tap water, which trickles into the city from the Alps, is legendary. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. And an analysis of those signatures, Szekeres says, revealed Freedom Party voters barely signed on, suggesting party supporters were compelled by the personal freedom argument. Brexit trade deal: What were the big themes in the talks? VIENNA — The Austrian government will finally ban smoking in bars, cafés, and restaurants on November 1 — a move that’s been met by protests, pub and nightclub closures, and lawsuits. Australian expeditioner evacuated from Antarctica in five-day mission, Boko Haram kill villagers in Christmas Eve attack, Michael Jackson: Neverland Ranch 'sold to billionaire for $22m', Bridgerton: Everything you need to know about the Netflix drama, Brexit: What you need to know about the UK leaving the EU. Published. Vienna finally gets a smoking ban on November 1. (This, I can attest, results in establishments that are still pretty smokey.) All together, these statistics put Austria in a league of smokers with Chile, China, and Turkey. A tradition of dominant influence of the tobacco industry, coupled with a strong resistance from tobacconists, the hospitality sector, and parts of the population, impeded for a long time, any effective, comprehensive tobacco control legislation. From 2013, law enforcement has been implemented, and smoking is strictly forbidden in closed public areas, including bars, pubs, restaurants etc. VIENNA, July 2 (Xinhua) -- Smoking in Austrian pubs and restaurants is to be banned from Nov. 1, the lower-house National Council decided in a vote on Tuesday, according to an Austria … During this time, Gabriele Fischer, a University of Vienna psychiatrist who studies addiction, says the media in Austria did a poor job of reporting on the smoking ban, giving the pro-smoking lobby too much attention and creating a false balance between two unequal ideas. A pub with venerable wooden panelling and worn, ancient wallpaper, it serves deeply traditional Viennese food. “So we started 10 years later than the US.”. “We have 500 shisha bars with several hundred employees in Austria — they will be wiped out,” he says. … In 2015, the SPÖ (democratic) and ÖVP (conservative) coalition in Austria agreed upon a general smoking ban in restaurants and taverns beginning in May 2018. ", Ricci says he is very pleased about the ban. Austrian Parliament yesterday voted to scrap an impending ban on smoking on bars and restaurants across the country. VideoThe family who go all out on their Christmas cards, playRisking lives for Christmas trees. Then last year, a new coalition — between the former conservative chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz, and the far-right Freedom Party — decided to stymie the ban. "Before they smoked one pack of cigarettes at the cafe house, and now maybe they are happy because they smoke only two or three cigarettes because they have to go outside. Austria was once dubbed "the ashtray of Europe" but has finally banned smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes. We used to have to work in the smoking area. However, due to the generally long duration of hotel stays, they are also to be given an opportunity to build strictly separated smoking rooms for guests. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. The world’s most livable city is a smoker’s paradise. Austrian MPs have scrapped a smoking ban in bars and restaurants that was scheduled to come into force in May, despite a petition in its favour collecting 545,000 signatures. The law is certainly controversial, but what’s most surprising is that it took this long to be implemented. A law came into effect on 30 May 2007 restricting smoking in closed public areas and outlawing the advertisement of tobacco, although the measure was reportedly poorly enforced in the country until 2013. But it's much better. And Austria hasn’t seen its smoking rate change since 1997, one of only two European Union member states with that distinction (the other is Slovakia). The smoking ban will now apply to all such establishments and will be enforced with heavy penalties. What happens to your body in extreme heat? Help us reach our goal by making a contribution to Vox today, from as little as $3. But the ban is just one small step toward cracking down on tobacco here. During a turbulent session in … Fourteen thousand people here die every year from causes related to smoking. Last May came a surprising twist in the story of Austria’s long road to a smoking ban: Strache, then the Freedom Party leader, was caught on tape appearing receptive to trading government contracts for positive news coverage with a woman posing as a Russian oligarch. Smoking ban: Austria's cafe society calls time on cigarettes. While there’s a 78 percent tax on cigarettes, they are still relatively cheap in Austria. This year, support from our founding contributors has helped us create projects that millions relied on to understand a year of chaos, and to keep their families safe. July 2, 2019 1:03 pm Lawmakers in the Austrian parliament Tuesday voted to ban smoking inside bars and restaurants following years of negotiations. But after the fall of the coalition in May, the ban was reintroduced and came into force on 1 November. New York poised to ban smoking and walking at the same time 22 Mar 2018 While much of the West has barred smoking in restaurants and bars, Austria’s impending ban is set to be stubbed out. Video, Nashville explosion: Camper van blows up in 'intentional act', Queen's Christmas speech: 'You are not alone', Russian historian jailed for dismembering partner. “In Austrian culture, we think about the kaffeehauskultur — it is just normal to have people smoking in there.” Meanwhile, alcohol consumption remains another major public health issue — one politicians appear reluctant to touch, he added. The far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) was the only party to … The public transit system is world-class (in two months here, I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes for a bus or tram). But Clemens Wratschko says he hasn't noticed any drop in numbers. The scandal, known as the Ibiza affair, had a surprising benefit for public health: an interim government passed the smoking ban. Australian saved in five-day Antarctica rescue, Selling it as a big win on both sides of the Channel, A scene in The Pianist changed Arson Fahim's life, 'We turned 90, moved in together - then got the vaccine', Everything you need to know about Netflix's Bridgerton, The unique global odyssey sparked by a stranger’s revelation, .css-q4by3k-IconContainer{display:none;height:1em;width:1em;vertical-align:-0.125em;margin-right:0.25em;}playThe family who go all out on their Christmas cards. "People want to go out and meet their friends, to enjoy a kind of atmosphere. Many Western countries have banned smoking in bars and restaurants, but Austria is bucking that trend. On Friday, Austria became one of the last countries in Europe to ban indoor smoking. It’s “normal progress in the world. Video, The family who go all out on their Christmas cards, The biggest selling single of all time. And then you had the Speiseraum or eating room, with a little more of a distinguished atmosphere.". November 1, 2019—After years of political volleying and public outcry, Austria implemented a full indoor smoking ban in bars, cafes, and restaurants. "My employees are nearly all smokers and I told them you will be glad because you will have no more passive smoke; you'll smoke much less than before and the next day you will feel fresher than before.". A ban on smoking in Austrian bars and restaurants took effect Friday, making it one of the last European countries to stub out the habit in indoor public places after years of protracted debate and protests. When lawmakers started to take tobacco controls more seriously, they came up with an absurdly half-baked fix in 2009: a quasi-smoking ban allowing restaurants larger than 50 square meters to simply cordon off an area where people could continue to smoke. Adult women are No. "Of course it is better for me and my work. Tobacco harms the health, the treasury, and the collective spirit of Austria. 1 among OECD countries when it comes to their penchant for cigarettes (22 percent smoke daily). "We have better air. “So all sides are asked to come to the table and discuss possible solutions.” The result, he added, “is often something where nobody will be really satisfied [with], but nobody should hate it completely.”. .css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link{color:inherit;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{color:#696969;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:hover,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link:focus,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited:focus{color:#B80000;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;}.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:link::after,.css-1hlxxic-PromoLink:visited::after{content:'';position:absolute;top:0;right:0;bottom:0;left:0;z-index:2;}Russia bans smoking on apartment balconies, Nashville camper van explodes in 'intentional act'. Although polling suggested a majority of Austrians still favored a ban, the far-right party made a shrewd political calculation, Thomas Szekeres, the president of the Austrian Medical Association, told Vox. Help us add 2,020 founding contributors to our supporter base by the end of the year, and keep Vox free for all, by making a contribution today. And that is not going to be overwhelmed by the smoke, Of course it is better for me and my work. Austria had been on the verge of bringing in a total ban last year, but the plans were overturned because of pressure from the far-right Freedom Party, which was part of the last government. “In Austria, nothing similar happened until 1974,” says Michael Kunze, Medical University of Vienna public health professor emeritus and long-time tobacco researcher. I think it is not a problem. The decision came after years of controversy. So for a long time, the government was not interested in curbing smoking rates — and in fact, had an incentive to keep people hooked on nicotine. By 2015, Austria started to catch up to the 20th century: a coalition government, represented by the Social Democratic Party and the conservative Austrian People’s Party, decided to implement a total smoking ban on bars, cafés, and restaurants by spring 2018. A 20-pack of Marlboros costs 5.50 euros (US $6.14), an increase of only .60 euro since 2014. VIENNA — The Austrian government will finally ban smoking in bars, cafés, and restaurants on November 1 — a move that’s been met by protests, pub and nightclub closures, and lawsuits. “We demonstrated back in the ’80s,” Kunze says, “that price policies are the most important strategy to control tobacco.”. “They take your taxes but say you can’t smoke,” he grumbled. ? But he says the smoking ban brings in new qualities. What about bars, restaurants, etc. It has one of the highest rates of teen smokers in Europe. In nearby France, the same pack now costs 9.30 euros; and in the United Kingdom, 11.05 pounds (US $14.31) — both countries that have recently increased their cigarette prices and have lower smoking rates. A major part of the reason for the high quality of life is the government intervenes in just about every aspect of people’s existence. Its owner, Clemens Wratschko, says the atmosphere has improved and it is better for his staff as well. The Austrian Government adopted, in November 2019, a comprehensive smoke-free policy, which also includes bars and restaurants among the premises covered by the ban. Smoking is banned in general in the restaurant industry but various exceptions are allowed. And the smoking statistics prove it. These businesses already have two lawsuits in the works, and Dobcak’s organization expects there will be more, as nightclubs and bars suffer financially because of liability issues, including noise complaints over smokers pouring out into the streets. I’ve gulped down cigarette smoke on cafe patios, in restaurants, and in my brief waits at tram and bus stops. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. In general the ban seems to be holding in Vienna. And yet — and yet! Austria is second to only Lithuania among OECD countries when it comes to daily alcohol consumption, thanks in part to low taxes and cheap booze. Wratschko is something of a Vienna institution. Perhaps, as a result, they have one of the lowest maternal death rates in the world. By Bethany Bell BBC News, Vienna. “[The] evidence is crystal clear that the only effective way to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke is to enact 100 percent smoke-free laws that ban smoking in all indoor workplaces and public places.”. Passive smoking, however, is not okay and dangerous. Szekeres’s organization helped launch a petition opposing the government’s scrapping of the smoking ban, which got nearly 900,000 signatures (a sizable number in a country of 8.8 million). I can breathe much better.". He says that after spending a few days away in protest, all his regular guests have now returned, despite the ban, and they are now smoking less. Down the road at Café Rüdigerhof, I met Ricci, who has been a waiter for 25 years. According to Eurostat, the proportion of daily smokers in Austria is 24%, placing it sixth among the EU-28 nations, behind Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Cyprus, and Latvia. Austria has more than double the rate of daily smokers compared to the US, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (24.3 percent versus 10.5 percent of the population over age 15). Some bars and nightclubs have complained that fewer customers are coming since the ban and that they have lost between 15% and 25% of turnover. Austria’s capital, Vienna, has repeatedly been voted the most livable city in the world, according to an annual index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. VideoRisking lives for Christmas trees, playThe refugees feeding a nation. Statistics from Krebshilfe and the Medical Association show that in Austria every year 14,000 smokers die directly and 1,000 people indirectly from the consequences of passive smoking. However, Clemens Wratschko, himself a smoker, admits to a certain nostalgia for the smoky old days. The smell in the restaurant is much better, because now you just smell the soup coming out of the kitchen, and the food. 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