What's New In: Smoking Bans
Smoking bans are controversial, but the idea continues to gain momentum. Here's the latest on efforts to kick the habit, at home and abroad.
São Paulo, Brazil
Smoke-free since August 7, 2009.
What's banned Smoking in enclosed public spaces, including offices, malls, taxis, bars, and restaurants.
Is it enforced? Things look good: Brazil's government made a substantial effort to educate the public before the ban went into effect (even running ads on MTV), and the fines for smoking are huge—up to $900 levied against business owners for noncompliance. There's also a concerted effort by 500 state health inspectors to enforce the ban.
Smoke-free since July 19, 2009.
What's banned Smoking in all cafés, bars, and restaurants.
Is it enforced? It's too early to tell, but a group of 1,000 café and coffee shop owners protested the ban outside the health ministry building in Ankara about a month after it was implemented. Some say the ashtrays might come back out if fines aren't levied.
Smoke-free since July 1, 2009.
What's banned Smoking in bars, nightclubs, bathhouses, massage establishments, and mah-jongg parlors.
Is it enforced? Not quite yet. Although Hong Kong banned smoking in public places, including restaurants, in 2007, there was a two-and-a-half-year "grace period" for bars and nightclubs. With the grace period now over, bar owners are blaming the gradual rollout for confusion about enforcement and fines.
Smoke-free since July 1, 2009.
What's banned Smoking in public places, including airports, taxis, and buses. Restaurants and bars must declare if they are smoking or nonsmoking establishments, or must have designated smoking areas with good ventilation.
Is it enforced? No. Previous bans have been ignored, and Reuters recently reported that locals expect to ignore this one, too. More than 40 percent of the population smokes.
Smoke-free since 2003, but the law was updated in 2009.
What's banned Smoking in public places, bars, and restaurants. A February 2009 addendum also banned smoking in hotels and on outdoor patios of bars and restaurants.
Is it enforced? Yes. The Boston Globe reported that the city's Board of Health officials have been issuing citations and that there's a high level of compliance.
Smoke-free since October 2, 2008.
What's banned Smoking in offices, public parks, movie theaters, restaurants, and nightclubs. One caveat: Restaurants of a certain size can have designated smoking rooms.
Is it enforced? Unevenly. This wide-ranging ban was imposed on a country of over a billion people, many of them tobacco users. Even though fines against smokers are huge (more than twice the average daily salary for some), the ban isn't heeded in most areas, though The New York Times reported that tourist-friendly hotels in New Delhi do enforce the law.
Smoke-free since July 1, 2008.
What's banned Smoking in all cafés, bars, and restaurants (though you can still smoke pot in some coffee shops—as long as it isn't laced with tobacco).
Is it enforced? Not particularly. Local newspapers reported in late 2008 that hundreds of bar owners were ignoring the ban. A catering organization has asked officials to shore up enforcement efforts.
BANS ON THE WAY
Germany The country's recent ban was overturned by courts after a few bar owners sued—lawmakers have until December 31, 2009, to revise and pass the law.
Galveston, Tex. The city, a popular spring break destination, recently passed a smoking ban in bars and restaurants that will take effect on January 1, 2010.
Dubai banned smoking in public places in 2007 and hookah smoking in public places in March 2009. Hookah bars will have to comply with new regulations, like better ventilation, in 2010.
Moscow The State Duma is mulling a partial smoking ban in entertainment venues and restaurants—owners will have to create a nonsmoking area comprising 50 percent of the space or ban smoking entirely. Restrictions would take effect in 2011.
Spain Health Minister Trinidad Jiménez recently said she wants to expand Spain's 2006 ban, which doesn't include bars and restaurants. There are no set deadlines, but it's a step.
> TELL US
Have you seen bans on this list being enforced? What did we miss? Tell us your experiences in the comments below.