David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Swiss vote against smoking ban

Bars and restaurants will still be allowed to have separate rooms for smokers where they can be served.

VOTERS IN SWITZERLAND have rejected proposals to completely ban smoking in enclosed public places.

A referendum was held today, which if passed, would have seen Swiss laws change to reflect those brought into Ireland in 2004.

Hotels, restaurants and bars across the country have welcomed the result.

The Lung League, which backed the ban, said they accepted the electorate’s wishes “with regret”. The organisation had hoped the initiative would protect employees from the negative effects of second-hand smoke.

The group said that there were 30,000 waiting staff in Switzerland at particular risk. Hotels, restaurants and bars in some areas of the country are currently allowed to have separate rooms for smokers but critics say this is harmful to the health of staff working in them.

Two thirds of voters rejected the referendum today, a result which the Swiss Business Federation called “heartening”.

Switzerland introduced a federal ban on smoking in enclosed workplaces and public spaces more than two years ago, but the law allowed for a number of exceptions and has been applied unevenly across the country’s 26 cantons.

-Additional reporting by AFP

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