Last week, the Spanish Parliament voted to implement a smoking ban in public places such as restaurants and work places. The ban will go into effect on New Year’s Day.
The previous week, a Swiss law banning smoking on national trains went into effect. With this ban, Switzerland joins Italy, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands in prohibiting smoking on trains. As in Holland, smoking at railway stations in Switzerland is also prohibited, except in designated areas.
Meanwhile, England still struggles with a planned ban on smoking in offices and restaurants which should begin in mid-2007. Pubs which do not serve food will be exempt from the ban, which lawmakers say will create unfair competetion, not to mention leave bar workers unprotected from second-hand smoke.
Copenhagen city employees have just over a year to ease into a planned ban on smoking in their workplaces. This is a big step for the Danes, who are regarded as opponents of anti-smoking legislation. The number of private companies which have smoke-free policies continues to grow in Denmark, with one in five companies totally banning smoking in the workplace.
Here in the Netherlands, smoking on trains and in train stations was banned as of January 1, 2004. Workplaces also became smoke-free on that date, except for hotels, bars and restaurants. The Dutch government continues to struggle with totally banning smoking in these places. We have noticed a few restaurants around here are starting to offer a smoke-free area, which was virtually unheard of only a few years ago. The online guide iens includes information on no-smoking areas in their reviews of Dutch restaurants.