Germans ignore smoking ban

Smoking bans in Europe, that continent that always seems to have a cigarette in hand, are becoming more and more frequent: Neil reported on Paris and Berlin cafés going smoke-free, Grant wrote about how the German smoking ban is spurning crafty workarounds, and I talked about angry Naples residents’ response to their city smoking ban. But this is the first report I’ve seen of all-out defiance in the face of a smoking ban.

According to a report from Reuters, German citizens are blatantly ignoring the ban, perhaps because, as one resident claims, no one is stopping them. Although potentially faced with a 100-euro fine if cited, residents of Germany’s 16 states (out of 20) that banned smoking don’t seem too worried.

Berlin police are letting café owners decide whether to enforce the rules, stating that there’s a “transition period” that lasts until July — until then, the ban just isn’t a high priority. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in July.