Austrian citizens have a chance this week to show their support for their right to smoke free public spaces with a referendum on laws to protect non-smokers from tobacco smoke exposure. Voting is open until 8 October. Voting and information about the process can be found here: https://dontsmoke.at/.
Austria has long been known as the ashtray of Europe. In March this year, just as long overdue legislation for smoke free hospitality venues was due to come into force, the new government overturned the laws.Over 500,000 Austrians signed a petition urging the government to keep the laws.
In an open letter to the Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz, former president of the World Federation of Public Health Association Michael Moore noted the lack of progress to reduce smoking in Austria, particularly among youth. He urged the chancellor to take action, noting: “It is sad, that a wonderful country like Austria still has
such a big tobacco problem. But progress is possible and Austria is now in a position to make huge strides in improving the lives of the community and particularly the future of the next generation.”