December 12, 2017
by Forest EU

Bid to scrap Austria May 2018 smoking ban a ‘victory for tolerance’

‘Governments in Europe must review their smoking ban laws’ says European smokers’ rights group Forest EU.

BRUSSELS, Tuesday 12 December 2017 – Plans for a total ban on smoking in Austria’s bars, restaurants and nightclubs have been scrapped, following talks between the Freedom Party and the People’s Party, which expect to form the next coalition government.

The ban, a policy of the outgoing government, was due to come into effect in May 2018.

Welcoming this move, Guillaume Périgois, director of the European smokers’ group Forest EU, said:

“This is defeat for smokers’ ostracisation and a great victory for tolerance.

“Governments in Europe must review their smoking ban laws to accommodate smokers without  inconveniencing those who don’t want to be exposed to tobacco smoke.

“Options should include separate, properly ventilated smoking rooms, as it is the case in many EU countries such as Austria. Regulations on outdoor smoking shelters should be relaxed so that people can smoke outside in a warm and comfortable environment all year round.”

Périgois added:

“The European hospitality industry must take a stand, defend its customers and call to repeal total indoor smoking bans in Ireland, the UK, Greece, Bulgaria, Malta, Spain and Hungary and relax the national regulations so bars, restaurants and hotels can provide more sheltered outdoor smoking areas.

“Some countries that allow smoking rooms in bars, restaurants and nightclubs make them pointlessly punitive for smokers. In Belgium for example, it is forbidden to have a television in smoking rooms. As if a TV could be bothered by tobacco smoke. This nonsense must end as soon as possible.”


Note to editors:

  • For more information, please contact Forest EU Director Guillaume Périgois on +32 4 78 98 07 43 or at
  • Forest EU is an advocacy campaign informing smokers about issues that affect them in the European Union and engaging with stakeholders so the views of informed adults are taken into account within the EU’s decision-making process. Since 1979, Forest has been the leading voice in defending the rights of tobacco consumers and tolerant non-smokers. Forest EU doesn’t encourage smoking and represents the consumer, not the tobacco industry. For more information, visit

Featured picture: DSCF9608 Taxi driver by DJ Hoogerdijk under licence (CC BY-ND 2.0)