Millennium Post

Swiss voters say no to smoking ban

Swiss voters say no to smoking ban
Two in three Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a referendum aimed at tightening a smoking ban, to the relief of the hotel and restaurant sector that had complained of excess regulation.

Only Geneva voted slightly in favour of the initiative, while results from Switzerland’s other 25 cantons showed that 66 per cent rejected it, the ATS news agency reported.

The Swiss Business Federation hailed what it called a ‘heartening’ result, saying the stricter laws would have ‘weighed on the restaurant sector as well as other economic sectors.’

It added in a statement: ‘The initiative would have imposed more costs on restaurateurs who have already made considerable investments to protect non-smokers. Hotelleriesuisse, representing the hotel sector, said it was relieved by the outcome, saying a ‘yes’ vote would have made ‘some investments obsolete’.

The Socialist party ‘deplored’ the result, saying stepping up protection against passive smoking would have ‘incontestably been a major step in the improvement of (workers’) conditions.’

Voters were asked whether to strengthen a smoking ban in indoor workplaces and public spaces, with opponents decrying the move as a ‘witch-hunt’. Polls had shown the country deeply divided on the eve of the referendum.


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