Swedes back al fresco smoking ban

Swedes back al fresco smoking ban
73 percent of Swedes back a ban on smoking in outside dining areas of cafés and restaurants, according to a new poll by Synovate on commission from the Swedish Network of Tobacco Prevention published on Monday.

The Hotel & Restaurant Workers Union (HRF), together with other member organisations of the network, has now demanded action to extend the ban on smoking in licensed premises introduced in June 2005.

The 2005 ban was very popular among the Swedish population and the parliament has identified a goal that by 2014 no one should be subjected to tobacco smoke against their will.

Ella Niia at HRF, and five other members of the Swedish Network for Tobacco Prevention argue, in an article in Svenska Dagbladet on Monday, that it is time to extend the ban and ensure that non-smokers can enjoy their meal in a smoke-free open air environment.

The Synovate survey asked 1,000 Swedes to specify the milieus in which they were bothered by passive smoking and where they would like to see smoking bans extended.

73 percent supported a total ban on smoking in al fresco dining areas with the strongest backing amongst young people.

The survey indicates support for the ban to be extended to balconies, stairwells, entrance halls and on all public transport.

86 percent of respondents were positive to the parliament’s 2014 goal – including two thirds of regular smokers.

Non-smokers were twice as positive as smokers, but fully 40 percent of regular smokers backed extending the ban, the network members write.

The US state of California paved the way for the wave of smoking bans that have been enforced worldwide in the past decade, when it outlawed smoking inside in 1998. Ireland was the first country to introduce a nationwide ban in 2004.

Since then a series of countries have introduced similar bans citing public health concerns and several states in Canada and Australia have already included open air environments in their legislation.

The Himalayan nation of Bhutan is to date the only country to have introduced a complete ban on the sale and smoking of tobacco in public.

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