Italians obey smoking ban more than Germans

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11:00 CEST+02:00
Italy is enforcing smoking bans in public places well, while in Germany compliance is limited and there are still “massive violations”, a report found this week.

The report, by the Brussels-based Smoke Free Partnership (SFP), rated Italian compliance with smoking bans in bars and restaurants, offices and public transport as “good” while German compliance was “limited”.

On January 10th, 2005, Italy became the third country in Europe, after Ireland and Norway, to bring in a smoking ban in indoor public places including bars, cafes and nightclubs.

A majority of people (90 percent) said the laws were respected in Italy, the SFP said. Italian enforcement officials carry out around 36,000 inspections a year, of which only two to three percent lead to fines to individuals or premise owners, according to the findings.

Meanwhile In Germany, studies conducted by the German Cancer Research Centre found “massive violations” of smoking restrictions in the hospitality sector. The SFP said several hospitality venues also use exemptions to allow smoking.

Italy has a partial ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, work places and public transport.

In Germany, which introduced measures in 2007, there is a national smoking ban on public transport, but there is no national law for bars and restaurants, with states applying their own specific legislation. Smoking is banned in all German work places with the exception of the hospitality sector, SFP said.

SFP’s “Smokefree Map” report highlights which European countries are providing effective protection from passive smoking and which countries could do more to protect people through improved legislation or compliance.

It included Italy, France, Britain and Spain among countries where smoking legislation is strong and strongly enforced, while Germany, Poland and the Netherlands were among countries that offer “limited protection” due to exemptions or poor compliance.

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Italy’s Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said in January the government was exploring further restrictions on smokers, such as potential bans in parks, beaches and stadiums.

There are about 11 million smokers in Italy, while almost 72,000 deaths a year are related to smoking, according to research from the University of Turin published early last year.

By Catherine Hornby

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