Austria smoking ban in effect after decade-long debate
November 1, 2019
Lighting up a cigarette with a beer or a meal is a thing of the past in Austria as a smoking ban comes into effect. Hefty fines will enforce the ban as the country looks to rid its reputation as the "ashtray of Europe."
Austria banned smoking in bars and restaurants on Friday, bringing the country's laws into line with most other European nations.
The indoor smoking ban came into effect after lawmakers approved the move in July.
Before the new law came into force, Austrians were still able to light up while drinking and eating inside bars and restaurants larger than 50 square meters (540 square feet), and as long as it was in a separate area, although this was not strictly enforced.
The smoking ban will now apply to all such establishments and will be enforced with heavy penalties.
Smokers who break the ban will have to pay €1,000 ($1,115), and owners of establishments who allow patrons to smoke will be fined $2,000 rising to €10,000 if found repeating the offense.
The smoking ban also applies to shishas and electronic cigarettes.