Bavarian Ban Binned
By Colin Grainger
16th July 2009.
Yet another ban bites the dust.
This is pretty much the whole thing:
“The state legislature in Munich decided Wednesday to allow smoking in one-room bars of up to 800 square feet (75 square meters) starting Aug. 1, so long as they are labeled as “smoking bars.” Larger bars will be allowed to set a room aside for smokers.
That will end a complete ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and discos that took effect in January 2008 and bring Bavaria in line with looser restrictions elsewhere in Germany”.
To certain nay-sayers at certain hospitality publications, we say this:
It can be done.
Amendments to stupid statutes happen all over the world, all the time.
If the Germans, the Dutch, the French, the Italians and the Spanish can all have sensible smoking restrictions, why can’t we?
Are you listening, politicians? We can change this divisive ban and restore choice.
Yes we can.
Make it so.
Bavaria loosens its restrictions on smoking in public, Germany’s toughest
MUNICH — Bavarian lawmakers have voted to loosen Germany’s toughest restrictions on smoking in public.
The state legislature in Munich decided Wednesday to allow smoking in one-room bars of up to 800 square feet (75 square meters) starting Aug. 1, so long as they are labeled as “smoking bars.” Larger bars will be allowed to set a room aside for smokers.
That will end a complete ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and discos that took effect in January 2008 and bring Bavaria in line with looser restrictions elsewhere in Germany.
The ban was widely blamed as one factor in a poor state election showing last September for the region’s governing conservative party.
Before that, officials exempted beer tents with an eye to Munich’s annual Oktoberfest.
Bavaria opens way for a beer and a smoke
Wed Jul 15
By MUNICH, Germany (AFP)
Smokers can light up cigarettes in more places in Germany’s Bavaria, including under the tents of Munich’s beer bash Oktoberfest, after state lawmakers Wednesday relaxed an anti-tobacco law.
A year after banning smoking in most restaurants, bars and discotheques, the Bavarian legislature decided to allow smoking in corner cafes that are too small to have separate non-smoking and smoking areas.
Likewise, a bigger establishment with enough space could offer customers a separate smoking room.
The vote by the legislature in the southern German state followed a Constitutional Court ruling that anti-tobacco laws in force since January 2008 in 14 of Germany’s 18 states discriminated against owners of one-room establishments.
Commentators have said Bavaria’s strict anti-tobacco law may have contributed to the unpopularity of regional politicians and the historic election defeat last September of the conservative Christian Social U nion (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.
The CSU lost its absolute majority for the first time in 46 years.
Landslide defeat for anti-smokers in Bavarian state election
September 30, 2008
Bavaria – Munich, the Alps, lots of beer, the alleged “toughest” smoking ban in Germany and a strong resistance against it, as we reported.
Thousands of tolerance clubs where you can legally smoke, some demonstrations, and increasing discontent with Nannyist government among the Bavarian people.
That set the context of the state elections on September 28. All three parties represented in the state parliament so far (Christian-Social u nion – CSU, Social Democrats, Greens) had voted for the smoking ban. But the main blame is to be put on the dominant force, the CSU, which has been endowed by the voters with an absolute majority since 1962 and won a whopping 61 % at the last elections in 2003. Formerly THE people’s party in Bavaria and a symbol of the Free State of Bavaria like pretzels or the Hofbr?uhaus, the arrogance of power seduced them into health dictatorship.
The politically calm and to some extent even said to be apathetic Bavarians usually don’t get angry at their CSU leaders. But too much is too much. Smoking bans in their local Wirtshaus and next year in beer tents as well? Maybe even legislation on their beloved alcohol and food? It had become high time to give those that had lost touch with their constituents a slap on the face.
And what a slap, right in the face of the antis!
The CSU lost 17,3 % of their votes, not just their worst result since 1954, but also the heaviest loss of a party in any German state election since 1950. Ending up with just 43,4 %, they lost their absolute majority and need a coalition partner now.
The Social Democrats, also proponents of the smoking ban, booked their worst result ever in post-war Bavaria, and the Green Party, the most fervent supporters of smoking bans, could not reach their electoral goals either.
Winners of the elections were the Free Democrats who had loudly opposed the smoking ban during the campaign, and the Free Voters who alsohad critized this measure. Both parties received about 10 % of the votes each.
Certainly, the smoking issue was not the only reason for the historic defeat of the CSU in Bavaria. But is was a crucial one, and for many voters, it symbolized a broader picture of arrogance and state intervention into the privates lives of the citizens, and of policital changes to the worse. Some rascals are thrown out, and the CSU, pressurized by the Free Democrats as the likely coalition partner, will have to revise the smoking ban.
Smokers have shown their electoral power and relevance, they have raised their middle finger in a way that actually hurt the politicians. Well done!