Bars must prioritise non-smoking areas says VwGh

By Rob Hyde
Customers must be able to access a cigarette-free zone in pubs and restaurants without having to first pass through a smoking area says the VwGH.

The Higher Administrative Court (VwGH), said that people who visit bars and eateries should not have to be exposed to a smoky atmosphere before they reach a no-smoking area.

In a statement the court said that when legislators referred to the concept of “smoking areas”, the idea was that were allowed to be set up only as additional rooms in an establishment which is generally subject to a basic ban of smoking.

It added that there is nothing to suggest that a non-smoking area can only be reached by passing through a smoking area.

The statement was triggered following a complain from the managing director of a bar who had to pay a 2,500 penalty for not having ensured that people were not smoking in all rooms.

Although the man has challenged the ruiling, the court defended its decision. It said: “There were ash-trays laid out and many people were smoking although the door to the no-smoking room was constantly open.”