Vienna Finally Bans Smoking in Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes

By Anna Breuer on 1 November 2019
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Patrons at Zum Schwarzen Kameel

Patrons at Zum Schwarzen Kameel

The days of casually smoking a cigarette while enjoying the atmosphere at a Viennese Kaffeehaus have come to an end: Austria banned all smoking in restaurants, cafes, and bars starting Friday.

The move extinguishes a decade-long debate on the subject.  Indeed, despite the lack of a ban, Austria’s capital, Vienna, has been voted the most livable city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The new law brings Austria in line with other major European countries and should allow the Alpine country to shed its reputation as the “ashtray of Europe.”

“After many setbacks and 18 months of political ignorance it was finally possible to set a law in motion that will substantially improve the lives of Austrians,” said Social Democratic leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner after the bill was passed in July.

Before the new law came into force, Austrians were still able to light up while drinking and eating inside bars and restaurants that were larger than 540 square feet (50 square meters) and had a separate smoking area.  Smaller establishments could opt to either be smoking or non-smoking.

Austria has an above-average percentage of smokers: 25% of its inhabitants smoking in comparison with an 18% average in other EU nations.

The penalty for violating the ban is €1,000 ($1,119) and owners of an establishment who permit patrons to smoke will be fined up to €10,000.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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