Pubs and bars ignore nonsmoker protection

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Pubs and bars ignore nonsmoker protection: smoking continues in four out of five restaurants

The smoking ban in the catering trade is not complied with in the majority of pubs and bars. This is the result of a study by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg.

The German Cancer Research Center reports that around 80 percent of the drinks-dominated restaurants continue to smoke. In a comprehensive study, Dr. Martina Pötschke-Langer and Ute Mons together with the DKFZ compliance with the non-smoking protection laws in almost 3,000 restaurants in the provincial capitals Düsseldorf, Hanover, Kiel, Mainz, Magdeburg, Schwerin, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden; Berlin and Munich examined. The result: four out of five pubs are still smoky today. The DKFZ said that there was “no question” of freedom of choice for non-smokers at the beverage restaurants.

80 percent of pubs continue to smoke As part of the nationwide largest evaluation study since the introduction of state laws on non-smoking protection, the DKFZ examined all restaurants in the inner city area of ​​the provincial capitals Düsseldorf, Hanover, Kiel, Mainz, Magdeburg, Schwerin, Stuttgart and Wiesbaden. In addition, two districts with a particularly high density of bars were taken into account in Berlin and Munich. The DKFZ reports that there are a total of 2,939 catering establishments. The most important result of the study: in 80 percent of pubs and bars, smoking continues. "If you want to drink a beer in the evening, you have to search a long time in many places if you don't want to be forced to smoke passively," says the DKFZ press release. The researchers explained that the numerous exceptions with which restaurants in the individual federal states can bypass a general smoking ban are so complex that serious enforcement problems arise. The cancer researchers criticized that the exemptions for non-smoker protection were “neither practical nor effective”.

Significant deficits in the non-smoking protection laws The study on compliance with the non-smoking protection laws in the restaurants not only made it clear that there are generally significant deficits in the implementation, but there were also significant differences between the individual state capitals, reports the German Cancer Research Center. In terms of non-smoking protection, Düsseldorf is the "bottom of the list" among the state capitals examined with the most smoking pubs and the most violations of the labeling requirements for smoking pubs. The restaurants in Munich, where there has been a general ban on smoking in the catering trade since August 2010, are most likely to be rated as non-smoking. But even here, smoking is still practiced in 17 percent of beverage restaurants. They make use of the only remaining exemption, according to which smoking is still permitted in closed societies.

Non-smoker protection: enforcement problems through exemptions The German Cancer Research Center also reports serious enforcement problems with non-smoker protection laws, since the existing exemptions are too complex and always offer loopholes. The DKFZ explained that 8 percent of the restaurants examined were actually smoking restaurants, which is a clear violation of the applicable state laws. 13 percent of the smoking bars also had several rooms, although according to legislation only one-room bars can apply for an exception. In addition, the situation with regard to the protection of minors should be rated as a scandal, since 62 percent of the smoking restaurants in the entrance area lacked the information "Access only from the age of 18", the DKFZ explained. The German Cancer Research Center concluded that the exemptions for non-smoker protection in most of the federal states can be regarded as failed. The cancer researchers are therefore calling for simple, comprehensive and nationwide uniform regulations for the protection of non-smokers in the catering trade.

DKFZ warns of high pollution levels due to tobacco smoke In view of the alarming study results, the German Cancer Research Center warns again of the "extremely high pollution levels caused by tobacco smoke in smoking restaurants and smoking rooms". A study from 2009, also carried out nationwide, in which the respirable particles in the ambient air were analyzed by catering establishments with and without non-smoker protection, showed a five to eleven-fold higher pollutant pollution in the smoking restaurants. This is an alarming result for the researchers at the DKFZ, since the measured pollution levels can also lead to health problems in non-smokers. In addition, it is particularly critical that in the restaurants with smoking rooms, the pollution is not limited to the smoking area, but also significantly increased in the non-smoking areas, since the smoke reaches these areas via the air. (fp)

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