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More street brawls after smoking ban

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11:45 CET+01:00
In the northern Swedish town of Sundsvall Sweden's smoking ban has resulted in more fighting on the streets, according to Svenska Dagbladet. Stockholmers however have become more peaceful since the ban was introduced in the summer of 2005.

"There has been a 2 per cent reduction in the number of crimes in the city since the introduction of the smoking ban," said police chief Torbjörn Nilsson.

"I think that city bars keep a closer eye on things than those in the rest of the country. And they are more careful with their alcohol licences because they are dealing with more money," he added.

Nilsson, who heads a special police unit tasked with watching over the city's nightlife, also puts the Stockholm statistics down to an increased police presence in central areas such as Stureplan and Medborgarplatsen.

"We are in the area and we are more visible, and that has probably contributed to a reduction in violence," Nilsson told Svenska Dagbladet.

In Sundsvall the number of assaults in the town centre since smokers were moved outside has increased by a whopping 30 per cent.

"People have to go out on the street to smoke. Fights break out. I definitely think the smoking ban could have contributed to this development," said Thomas Nilsson, police chief in Sundsvall.

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