Germany is taking another step closer to conforming with European anti-smoking legislation by banning smoking from all its InterCity, EuroCity and InterCity Express trains from September 1. Smoking carriages were removed from Deutsche Bahn regional trains earlier this year.
Smoking in railway stations will also be off-limit when the bill is passed, although there will be designated smoking areas available and nothing to stop people lighting up in bars and restaurants on-site. This highlights Germany's hesitation to follow the example of countries such as England and Finland which introduced a complete smoking ban in public places on July 1 this year.
Only two states in Germany have so far banned smoking in bars and restaurants, while in total three of Germany's 16 states have implemented a ban on smoking in hospitals, schools and public buildings. However, the government did recently raise the age at which people can buy cigarettes from 16 to 18, and by the end of the year it is expected that the restrictions on smoking in public places in other areas of the country will tighten.
At present, approximately one third of the population of Germany smokes and around 4.5 million people use Deutsche Bahn services every day. So in a bid to appease addicts using public transport, DB will be giving out free nicotine chewing gum to InterCity and ICE passengers on request. Despite this additional cost, Deutsche Bahn believes the smoking ban will save them money, as it will be cheaper to keep trains clean.
For more information visit bahn.co.uk.
By Jenny Southan