Step by step, the fight against tobacco addiction continues to progress throughout Europe. Following a successful online petition in Luxembourg, a smoking ban on terraces will soon be considered.
However, not everyone agrees with the new proposal. Despite the elevated cancer risks associated with tobacco, Horesca opposes the latest public health measure.
With over 4,500 signatures, the digital petition to ban smoking on terraces can now be deemed successful. The petition began in July, and will now be handed over to the Luxembourgian parliament. MPs will now have to determine whether or not tobacco should be banned on bar and restaurant terraces.
Such measures have already been adopted in other European countries, and have been in effect in France since 2006. Horesca (National Federation of Hoteliers, Restaurants, and Café Owners) believes this is to be an unconscionable decision. For Francois Koepp, the association’s secretary general, such a ban would “jeopardize” businesses in the sector.
A question of public health
The smoking ban in bars has already caused a 15% drop in sales for café owners in the past years. Horesca estimates that a new ban would further affect turnover in the sector. Amongst café and bar regulars in Luxembourg, an estimated 80% are regular smokers.
Horesca’s staunch position is surprising considering the well-known cancer risks associated with tobacco. Each year in Luxembourg, 1,000 people die due to tobacco-related illnesses. Second-hand smoking is particularly egregious, as it kills people who have no interest in smoking.
The Health Minister began an anti-tobacco risk reduction campaign in 2016, and it is set to continue until 2020. The goal is to encourage smokers to reduce their consumption habits; indeed, the smoking ban on terraces would be a positive move in this direction.