The practice of smirting to become worldwide?
This from DW-World.DE (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,2059965,00.html):
Minister Calls for Smoking Ban in Public Buildings
Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: In the future, people could be asked to put out their smokes in public buildings
Germany's Consumer Affairs and Agriculture Minister Horst Seehofer has come out in support of a general smoking ban in restaurants and other public buildings. He's got support from several federal states.
Germany's standing as one of the shrinking number of European bastions for smoking might be under threat. Seehofer's remarks in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper indicate that the widespread tolerance for smoking, at least in public spaces, might be coming to an end.
The minister told the newspaper he wants "healthy air to breathe."
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Horst Seehofer wants "healthy air to breathe"
"That's why we should advocate for more protection for non-smokers and have the courage to ban smoothing in all public facilities," he said, adding that such bans already exist in the US as well as in several European countries, including Italy and the UK.
No one complains about them anymore, he said, "but in Germany we're far behind."
Although Germany takes pride in its strong stands on the environment and consumer protection, smoking is widespread, and largely tolerated, even in the workplace. According to British American Tobacco, which holds 23 percent of the German market, about 20 million Germans smoke, almost one in four. Smoking kills more than 140,000 year, according to the American Journal of Public Health. Some 3,300 die each year because of passive smoke-related diseases.
Many experts point out that Germany lags behind the US and other Europeans in prohibiting smoking because of the close relationships between the tobacco industry and most political parties.
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: A complete ban in Britain on smoking in offices and most public places, will come into effect Summer 2007
There is a voluntary agreement between the government, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association to create non-smoking areas in most bars, cafés and restaurants, but many health experts feel the industry has made few efforts.
"I don't believe in a million years that restaurants will create smoking and non-smoking areas of their own accord," Karl Lauterbach, a health expert for the Social Democratic Party, told the International Herald Tribune.
Support from the states
Now they might be forced to, especially since voices of agreement to Seehofer's call have come in from several federal states, including Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and North Rhein-Westphalia .
"I am for a smoking ban," Saxony-Anhalt's Premier Wolfgang Böhmer told the Bild am Sonntag.
His colleague from Saxony, Georg Milbradt agreed: "There should be a strict smoking ban where smokers and non-smokers have to cross paths."