Friday 9 October 2009

Anti-smoking trend turned in Denmark

[This is a guest post from Klaus K, whose Danish blog is here. Klaus provides news which acts as a further reminder that total smoking bans - with no exemptions and no amendments - remain rare in mainland Europe.]

Anti-smoking trend turned in Denmark

Despite two years of heavy media pressure from the anti-smoking lobby, Denmark's liberal prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said this week that the government will not tighten the smoking ban in December, when the smoking law is to be re-evaluated.

The government planned to introduce a total ban in 2009, and this has been reported for two years by the media and the health community but when, in August, the anti-smoking lobby demanded a ban on smoking rooms in schools, the DF party (Dansk Folkeparti) said that they would not support a tightening of the ban.

DF health speaker Liselott Blixt told the media that "enough is enough". She said that smokers were being harassed, and she also expressed doubt about the validity of the popular claim that passive smoking is a killer. "Nobody is going to die, because they smell a little smoke. We must have places for the Danish smokers," Mrs Blixt said to Politiken

By September, most of the Danish political parties had agreed, leaving only the left-wing parties Socialdemokratiet, Socialistisk Folkeparti and Enhedslisten still wanting to tighten the ban.

The Danish ban currently allows designated smoking rooms in the hospitality sector - with free choice of smoking in all small bars and cafés below 40 m2 serving area. Many bigger bars and cafés have chosen to downscale their serving areas to get below the 40 m2 limit, thus allowing smoking.

In the sixth largest Danish city - Randers (in Jutland) - a handful of bar-owners said on national television that they break the law regularly and allow smoking. They said Randers is the "wild smoking west" - they put ashtrays on the tables, saying it is not ashtrays but "garbage trays". One bar-owner in Randers is going to court for allowing his guests to smoke in his 400 m2 pub. The suit was filed by the national "working-control" authority, which oversees the anti-smoking law. The court case starts in Randers on November 22nd.

1 comment:

Witterings from Witney said...

Love the quote about no-one dying due to smelling smoke.

Have linked!