Constitutional Court Rejects Last Ditch Appeal Against Smoking Ban

Several nightclub owners had appealed the absolute ban on smoking. They had one specific argument.

In 2015 it was decided, in May 2018 it should have come into force, but was prevented by the coalition partner FPÖ of the previous government under Sebastian Kurz.

Now it is here: The general smoking ban takes effect November 1.

Until the very end, nightclub owners tried to fend it off, most recently, with a constitutional complaint.

The owners wanted to distinguish night gastronomy from the mainstream restaurant business.

But last week, the Verfassungsgerichtshof VfGH (Constitutional Court) remained unconvinced and rejected the complaint.

Protection of public health

The VfGH referred to its ruling of 18 June 2019 that “smoking tobacco products (…) is a social phenomenon that is harmful to health and also endangers other people”. Protection of public health should take precedence, in particular the interests of employees, over the interests of the operators of food service establishments.

Temporarily, Austria had agreed on a regulation in which restaurants make a part of their facilities available for non-smokers and a part for smokers. Locally separated, of course. Some even had to rebuild their venues.

As of November 1, however, the general smoking ban will supercede this decision. To enforce it, the City has announced immediate controls, and non-compliance may result in fines.

To sit at a jazz bar in the eighth district, listen to the sounds of the saxophone, trumpet and piano and blow smoke rings or puff on a cigar… All this will soon vanish from the scene, and the iconic yet intimate love affair between Viennese coffee houses and cigarettes will come to an end. But also less romantic pictures like smoky nightclubs or foul smelling jackets, which have to be thrown into the washing machine after a visit to U4, will belong to history.

Julia Seidl
Born 1993, Julia C. Seidl did her first internship at "Die Presse" when she was 17. She went on to study "Journalism & Media Management" in Vienna and worked for several local news outlets such as ORF, Kurier and Falter before joining Metropole as online content and social media manager.


You like local independent journalism in English? So do we!

To keep providing you with current news, insights, opinion and Schmäh about our shared hometown, we need your help.
We chose to provide our daily coverage for free, because we believe in equal access to information. And we want to be independent from our advertisers, so we can deliver the news that you want. With your help, we can keep giving you the open, independent journalism you deserve.

Don’t let the advertisers win!


If you’re able, please support Metropole today from as little as €1
or choose an amount:

RECENT Articles

Donald Tusk’s Clear Voice

Welcoming to Scotland, the perennial European is not about to leave the political stage.

“Mein Fall” | Austrian Writer Tells of Sexual Abuse

As a choirboy at the Zwettl Monastery in the 1960s, novelist Josef Haslinger was regularly assaulted by his superiors. Now he wrote about it.

Passing the Baton

The Vienna Theatre Project meditates on MLK’s last night on earth in Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop.”

5 Anti-Valentine’s Day Movies | It’s Difficult to Love

If the most saccharine of holidays is starting to get to you, here are five sobering – some would say more realistic – portrayals of human emotion.

Keeping It Together

Ken Loach takes on the human cost of the gig economy in his latest film, "Sorry We Missed You".

Doskozil’s Big Win For the SPÖ in Burgenland

After a disappointing year, the Social Democrats won a whopping 50% of the vote in last week’s state elections.

2019 Was a Record-Breaking Year in Vienna Tourism

Visitors are pleased with Vienna as a travel destination, with 9 out of 10 stating they would recommend it to others.

16 Viennese Idioms That Make No Sense Whatsoever

The Viennese sometimes have their own special way of using the German language, especially when they lapse into dialect. It is often a mixture of gleeful malice, eloquence, flattery and charm.