The adjudication by Supreme Court followed after the owner of several small lounges filled a suit, stating that the revenues unfairly and deeply hurt by the implementation of smoking ban in enclosed public places. The statewide indoor smoking ban was imposed in an odd and muddled manner throughout the16 German federal states several months ago. Moreover, it was massively criticized by German population, 30 percent of whom are regular smokers.
The regulations have frequently been disregarded or scarcely enforced, whereas the owners and managers of smoker-friendly restaurants, lounges and small bars declaring that their establishments were put to the brink of bankruptcy by the latter laws. One of desperate and angry owners was Marina Frietzl, owner of two small pubs, one in Berlin and the other in Munich, who filled a lawsuit against the government’s decision to ban smoking in almost all enclosed public buildings.
Frietzl complained that her one-room establishments were too small to launch a physically separated and ventilated smoking section, as in case with other pubs in the neighborhood what contributed to patrons’ switching to those places and therefore should be regarded as a competitive disadvantage resulting in a sharp decline in business. The Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiff.
“I am totally delighted with the Court’s ruling,” admitted Marina Frietzl, the owner of ‘Bedinge’ pub in the outskirts of Berlin. “That is what I consider as the prevalence of justice,” she added. DVZ group, the major tobacco industry lobbyists in Germany claimed that with the latter ruling statewide smoking ban should be revised since it was too severe and one-sided.
Magdalena Strobl, chairperson of DVZ said that they have been struggling against such restrictions of smokers’ rights for a long time, and the latest ruling would be like a relief for German smokers. Actually, German population has faced rigorous public regulations in many areas for decades, however, smoking has been considered by many generations as a genuine act of revolt against the general boring culture.
In times of the Nazi regime, smoking was condemned and almost censured. However, after the World War II cigarettes urged to obtain a symbolic meaning of freedom and new life. As regards the smoking ban, the court ruled that all 16 states must revise the indoor smoking regulations and amend them to either prohibit smoking in all establishments without any exemptions or enlist one-room pubs in the list of such exemptions.
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