The Austrian tobacco law grants
exemptions for restaurants and bars up to 80m². In premises below
50m² the innkeeper can choose to be a smoking place and has to put
up a sign. Owners of >50 up to 80 m² may apply for the same
exemption. As expected, most small restaurants remained smoking for
fear of loosing guests to neighbouring smoking restaurants, or applied
for exemptions. Even inns >80m² were allowed to stay without
separation until mid 2010. Afterwards they are required to prevent
smoke to enter the non-smoking section, but the law does not give
detailed instructions. The most important deficit of the Austrian law
is lack of control. Neither the police nor work inspectors or food
inspectors are empowered to control smoking. Reporting of
violations is left to guests only, but they would have to show proofs
by taking photos and knowing the name of the violator. As a rule the
administration is unable to provide proof of violations.
Austria introduced smoke-free workplace legislation in 2001 and went
into force in 2002 with exceptions for the hospitality industry.
Further improvements were the Tobacco Law of 2004 banning smoking in
public buildings so that finally in 2006 schools became smoke-free. In
2008 sanctions for violations of non smoker protection were introduced
into the tobacco law. The hospitality industry was obliged to provide
non-smoking rooms, except for small, single-room enterprises. Part of
this law went into force in 2009, but control is still very poor.
source: EMASH Newsletter Year 17, N° 64