Geneva, Switzerland - ban on smoking in public places returns..

September 29, 2009 - Back in September 2008 a Federal Court ruled that the ban on smoking in public places in Geneva is null and void. Approximately one year later a ban on smoking in public places will return to Switzerland's Geneva canton after being approved in a referendum Sunday, September 27th. (Canton of Geneva is the westernmost canton or state of Switzerland, surrounded on almost all sides by France.)

Geneva's residents voted 81.77 percent in favor of bringing back the smoking ban, with only 18.3 percent voting against.

A canton-wide smoking ban in public places was originally introduced on July 1, 2008, after the state government used a first referendum as grounds for pushing through the move. But the Federal Tribunal ruled three months later that the ban should not have been passed by the canton's lawmakers before the state's government enacted legislation. The law therefore had no legal basis, the tribunal found. Geneva's smokers were allowed to light up again at the end of September last year in bars and restaurants following the ruling.

A year on, the smoking ban will once again come into force after the canton's lawmakers passed legislation and had it overwhelmingly approved in Sunday's referendum. The new rules allow bar, hotel and restaurant owners to fit out special smoking rooms in their establishments, which the original ban did not.

Supporters of the ban are opposed to this compromise, however, and said Sunday they would appeal to the Federal Tribunal.

Reference: Geneva's smoking ban returns after one-year break, Agence France Presse (AFP), 9/27/2009.

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Image - World Radio Switzerland, September 30, 2008..