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Author Topic: Push for Austrian Smoking Ban Gathers Pace  (Read 1018 times)

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Offline yungcrux

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Push for Austrian Smoking Ban Gathers Pace
« on: February 21, 2018, 01:38:02 AM »

More than 200,000 Austrians have signed a petition calling for a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, campaign organizers said using one of the new right-wing government's signature policies to undermine another.

As part of a coalition deal they struck in December, the far-right Freedom Party and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's conservatives agreed to lift a smoking ban in bars and restaurants due to take effect in May.

The new government has also said it plans to make greater direct democracy a priority, eventually making it possible to force a referendum by gathering 900,000 signatures, roughly a tenth of the population.

Bucking an international trend towards greater restrictions on smoking, The Freedom Party has long sought to nip the new Austrian ban in the bud, criticizing what it views as the excesses of the state.

But it has incensed many health campaigners, and on Thursday a Vienna doctors' association and an anti-cancer group jointly launched a formal government petition calling for the ban to be retained.

"Today around 10:30 a.m. we broke through the 200,000 mark.