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Germany scraps nationwide smoking ban on constitutional grounds

[JURIST] The federal government of Germany [JURIST news archive] has scrapped a proposed nationwide ban on smoking in restaurants amidst concern that it would impermissibly intrude on police powers guaranteed to the states in the wake of landmark federalism reforms [JURIST report] approved [JURIST report] this summer. The government will instead ban smoking in federal buildings. The Interior and Justice ministries were unpersuaded by arguments from advocates of the ban that it ban addresses health issues over which the federal government retains jurisdiction. Under the new constitutional reforms, Germany's 16 states have the power to regulate restaurants and businesses.

The legislatures of England and France [JURIST reports] have approved nationwide smoking bans in public places to come into effect during 2007, and other European countries, such as Ireland, Finland, Italy, Spain, and Sweden have already implemented total or partial bans along those lines. In the US, voters approved three state-wide smoking bans [JURIST report] in the November elections, while Rhode Island will amend its smoking ban after a state judge struck down [JURIST report] several provisions of the law as irrational and therefore unconstitutional. DPA has more.

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