Finally banish the smoking bell from Baden-Württemberg’s catering scene!

18.08.2019 The south-west German federal state, a model state in many respects, should finally reach the standard of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saarland in terms of non-smoker protection.

Non-smoker protection for guests and staff is only on paper in Baden-Württemberg. The guests know that. The publicans pretend not to know. Health Minister Manfred Lucha now wants to negotiate real non-smoker protection with the CDU. It is therefore high time for the state. Back in 2014, Pro Rauchfrei criticised the then Minister Katrin Altpeter for her own evaluation of the Non-Smoker Protection Act, forcing her to take it out of the drawer and publish it. Despite this, she did not allow herself to get carried away with anything more than amended implementation instructions.

In Baden-Württemberg, there are still numerous exceptions to the smoking ban in restaurants. For example, in smoking pubs under the following conditions:

  1. They must be smaller than 75 square metres (without counter, entrance, cloakroom, toilets) and may only have one dining room.
  2. You may only offer simple cold dishes.
  3. Minors are not admitted. The ban on entry and the smoking licence must be pointed out.

In reality, of course, people smoke in many more pubs, bars and discos than would be permitted by law. But who checks? Which guest would have the opportunity to do so?

Smoking pubs are not the only exceptions in the Ländle: there may be smoking rooms in larger restaurants with several rooms, as well as in discos or in catered tents or containers belonging to a restaurant. Smoking is also permitted in wine, beer and festival tents.

The explanation of the exemptions for the catering industry is set out in ministerial implementation notes. These take nine pages to explain the situation to potential inspectors. However, it is also crystal clear that guests have long since lost their way.

That’s why there aren’t many complaints, not even to Pro Rauchfrei. They have given up. Those who are bothered by the smoke hardly go out any more. But is this really the desired solution?

To illustrate this, here are a few voices from complaints we have received:

I was about to leave the party despite the €18 entrance fee because I felt EXTREMELY disturbed as I could no longer dance in a trance as I constantly had to be careful not to get burnt. I got burnt once too.

Because all the outdoor seats were taken, we were only offered seats in the smoking room on the ground floor.

The non-smoking area is separated from the smoking area by a glass door. The staff kept opening and fixing this door completely so that the separation was ineffective. We asked the staff about this and were told that this was always done on Saturdays because there were a lot of smokers there and the space at the bar (smoking area) was too small. If the non-smokers didn’t like it, they could leave.

Nur ein komplettes Rauchverbot stellt sicher, dass sich Wirte keine Wettbewerbsvorteile verschaffen bzw. sich nicht von ihren Gästen mit der Drohung erpressen lassen müssen, sie würden ins Nachbarlokal gehen, wenn sie nicht rauchen dürften. Die Mehrheit der Gäste, das Personal und auch die Vollzugsbeamten wünschen sich ein konsequentes Rauchverbot.

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Chaotic non-smoker protection in the Ländle