Austrian daily Der Standard reported this week that one of the sticking points in the coalition negotiations between the Austrian People’s Party (OVP) and the Austrian Freedom Party (FPA) is the proposed smoking ban due to come into force in May 2018. The ban will apply to all restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Irrespective of these negotiations, it is important that the eventual ban is reasonable and proportionate by allowing specific smoking areas to be established. The rights of non-smokers in public places should be respected, enabling them to enjoy smoke-free environments. Equally, however, smokers should not be unfairly penalised for choosing to smoke. Designated, ventilated smoking areas can serve to balance these rights.
Speaking on the topic, ESTA Secretary General Peter van der Mark said: “Public health policy should ultimately be guided by pragmatism and reason rather than dogma and emotion. It should not ostracise people for the choices they make or implement draconian measures based on spurious arguments. Reasonable and proportionate policies help to create an inclusive public sphere fostering respect and harmony.”