Germany - Bavaria referendum on smoking in cafés and beer halls on July 4, 2010..

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February 9, 2010 - The Bavarian government says it will hold a referendum on smoking in cafés and beer halls. More than 9 million voters in the southern German state will be allowed to cast their ballots on 4 July.

January 1, 2008 eight German states including Bavaria marked the New Year by introducing smoking bans in public places including restaurants and bars. In July 2009 smokers in Bavaria rejoiced as the state’s parliament loosened the regulations on a smoking ban instituted 18 months before. Then on Thursday, October 1, 2009 Germany’s high court in Karlsruhe ruled that Bavaria’s looser implementation of its smoking ban is constitutional.
The issue has been under discussion for some time. For many years, smoking regulations were far stricter in Bavaria than in the rest of Germany but the authorities decided to permit smoking in small cafés last August.

The smoking referendum will have no effect on the nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants. The Bavarian government also said that smoking will allowed during this year's Oktoberfest, which is held annually at the end of September.

Reference: Smoking referendum in Bavaria, Netherlands Radio Worldwide, 2/4/2010.

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