Smoke-free outdoor baths: sport and fun in fresh air

Last update: 27.04.2024, first published 08.05.2015: The outdoor pool season starts in May. For the first brave souls to sprinkle the sunbathing lawns, it will still be a smoke-free pleasure as they have plenty of space around the deckchair. But where can you always swim smoke-free?

But on the really hot summer days and during the holidays, the bath towels line up as tightly as oil sardines in a tin. Unfortunately, tobacco smoke does not immediately rise steeply upwards, as one would wish, but wafts around at nose level for some time before it evaporates.As scientists at Stanford University, California, have discovered in a study, tobacco smoke outdoors is still harmful up to a distance of two metres and increases the fine dust pollution to which we are already exposed throughout the day. Not to mention the unhealthy effect on asthmatics, allergy sufferers and people sensitive to tobacco smoke.

You often read in the press about applications to ban smoking on the sunbathing lawns of outdoor swimming pools, but all too often these initiatives are not successful. Nevertheless, there are positive examples of smoke-free outdoor pools or pools that have separate smoking and non-smoking areas. The triggers for this have varied: often persistent protests from parents have been the decisive factor in ensuring that smoking is now prohibited at least in the toddlers’ area, sometimes swimmers have complained about having to breathe in the smoke drifting over the surface of the water after coming up for air, often the litter on the sunbathing lawns is a cause, and in some cases also considerations of the risk of fire in dry weather.

Completely smoke-free open-air baths

A great example of this are Vienna’s ten family baths, which initially offered separate areas for child protection reasons and then proclaimed a total smoking ban  as smokers didn’t stick to the rules. In the Lower Austrian Heidebad Hausmening (Amstetten), the entire outdoor area has been smoke-free since May 2023, only on the buffet terrace, smoking is still permitted. You can also sunbathe and swim completely smoke-free in Mainzer Schwimmvereins and outdoor bath Gnarrenburg (Lower Saxony). Smoking is prohibited everywhere in Schlossbad Heroldsberg, except in the kiosk area. Starting with the 2024 season, the Imre Gutyan outdoor bath Gemmingen (Heilbronn district) will be completely tobacco and cannabis-free, as unanimously decided by the local council.

Outdoor baths with separate areas

These can be found in Frankfurt outdoor baths, in Schyrenbad Munich, in the outdoor baths of Mühlacker, Dachau, Dorfen, in the family bath Oberbieber (Neuwied), in the bathing facilty of Rantzauer See in Barmstedt (Pinneberg), in Graz outdoor baths, in Bad Belzig and in the outdoor adventure bath in Plattling. In Rottenburg a. Neckar, smoking is prohibited in covered areas, all pool surrounds, the children’s playground and the children’s area with its sunbathing lawn.

Outdoor baths with a smoking ban in the children’s areas

In Nürnberg outdoor baths, the toddler areas are smoke-free; in the coming season, non-smoker protection is to be extended. Thanks to an initiative by the local child protection association, the children’s area in  Murrhardter Trauzenbach-Freibad (Baden-Württemberg) is smoke-free. Equally, smoking is prohibited both in the toddler areas of AQWA-Freibad Walldorf (Baden-Württemberg) and of the outdoor bath of Germering. Unfortunately, the passage in the bathing regulations stating that smoking is not permitted on the sunbathing lawns has now been cancelled. In Stuttgart’s outdoor and thermal baths, smoking is banned at the pool surrounds in the outdoor area. In the local Leuze mineral bath, the family area was declared a non-smoking zone, partly with the help of Pro Rauchfrei.

A curious arrangement is to be found in Eckbusch (Wuppertal). The bathing regulations there stipulate that smoking is only permitted on the sunbathing lawns if it does not disturb the other guests.

In Lahnstein, Offenburg and Tübingen, for example, the introduction of smoking bans was rejected by a majority of city councillors and the administration, in the case of Tübingen despite frequent complaints by visitors.

If you know of any other smoke-free outdoor pools or pools with separate areas, please let us know using the contact form.