Visitors to the Munich Oktoberfest will no longer be able to puff cigarettes in the crowded beer tents…
Bavarian Politicans Want to Relax Smoking Ban
March 6, 2008
The leaders of Bavaria’s ruling party, the Christian Social Union, want to relax the state’s smoking ban — and very quickly. Many of the party’s politicians blame the ban for the CSU’s poor showing in recent local elections.??
The leaders of the Christian Social Union, the conservative Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, are planning to relax Bavaria’s smoking ban — just two months after it was introduced.
The state’s ruling party wants to introduce the relaxation next week, granting special exemptions to beer tents and small pubs. The change in regulation is aimed in particular at large tents, as found in Munich’s famous Oktoberfest.
Many of the party’s top politicians blamed the state’s strict smoking ban on their party’s poor showing in recent local elections. The CSU suffered big defeats in Munich and Nuremberg in Sunday’s polls, where center-left Social Democratic Party mayors were re-elected with bigger marigins. A leading CSU politician, who prefered to remain anonymous, told the S?ddeutsche Zeitung on Monday that many of the party’s supporters had abstained from voting because of the ban.
The smoking ban, which was introduced in Bavaria on Jan. 1, is the strictest in Germany, forbidding people from lighting up in restaurants, pubs and even beer tents — meaning that the 2008 Oktoberfest will be smoke-free. Bavaria was one of eight German states to ban smoking in public places from the start of this year.
The calls for a relaxation of curbs in Bavaria were criticized by Maria Eichhorn, a CSU politician who speaks on drug isssues in the Bundestag, the German parliament. She told the German news agency DPA on Wednesday: “A relaxation of the smoking ban in Bavaria would be fatal for public health protection and for the public’s trust in politicians.”
Oktoberfest escapes smoking ban
March 6, 2008
Munich’s annual celebration of beer, the Oktoberfest, isn’t going smoke-free just yet.
City and state officials decided that Bavaria’s newly-introduced smoking ban, the toughest in Germany, would not apply at this year’s event.
The Bavarian legislation, which took effect on New Year’s Day, banned smoking in bars, restaurants and nightclubs.
Unlike other German states, it did not allow for special rooms to be set aside for smokers at restaurants – and did not exempt beer tents.
Mayor Christian Ude said the Oktoberfest was “unique as far as the difficulties of applying a smoking ban are concerned”.
He said it was hard to imagine how police and security officials could act against smokers in a crowded tent, and that extra open-air spaces would need to be set aside – requiring a reorganisation of the site.
“It is already too late for major structural changes” this year, said Bavaria’s interior minister Joachim Herrmann. Officials now want organisers to plan how to implement the ban in 2009.
The smoking ban was pushed through by Herrmann’s party, Bavaria’s dominant conservative Christian Social U nion (CSU).
Some members have pointed to the ban as a key reason for CSU losses in municipal elections last weekend, and party leaders are discussing loosening the restrictions.
Bavarian smoking ban to hit Munich’s Oktoberfest
12 Dec 2007
Munich – Visitors to the Munich Oktoberfest will no longer be able to puff cigarettes in the crowded beer tents, under a smoking ban approved by the Bavarian parliament on Wednesday. From January 1, 2008 smoking will also be outlawed in public buildings, schools, hospitals bars and restaurants in the toughest law of its kind ever to be enacted in Germany.
“Bavaria can really breathe freely from now on,” the state’s health secretary, Marcel Huber, said after deputies voted 140-18 in favour of the new legislation.
The only exceptions will be for prisons and actors taking part in theatre or opera performances.
Smoking will still be allowed in outdoor beer gardens, but not inside restaurants or bars, unlike other German states which allow bars and restaurants to set aside special rooms for smokers.
Huber brushed aside complains from the gastronomy industry that the smoking ban would lead to a drop in profits.
“They’ll earn more because customers will have both hands free to eat and drink,” the health minister said. More families and non-smokers would visit restaurants where the air is clean, he added.
Huber said the new measure was introduced out of health considerations.
“People who drink too much harm themselves. People who smoke harm others,” he said.
It will be the first time in the Oktoberfest’s 200-year history that people will not be allowed to smoke in the massive beer tents, some of which can accommodate thousands of guests.
An estimated 6 million visitors, many from the far side of the globe, visit the event each year to quaff beer and sway to the oompah music or ride on roller-coasters.
A national smoking ban in trains, public transport, taxis and federal buildings came into force in September.
The government last year tried to impose a far-reaching smoking ban across the nation, but was forced to drop the idea because the constitution gave many of the powers to the 16 federal states.
On August 1, a ban applying to bars, restaurants, hospitals, schools and public buildings came into force in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lower Saxony, and at hospitals, schools and public places in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, where a smoking ban in restaurants goes into effect in 2008.
Germany has been discussing a smoking ban for years, but the measures fall far short of the total bans imposed by many of its European neighbours.