Public Space Smoking Laws Around Europe

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Back in the day, a lot of places allowed smoking in public spaces, even in offices. You can see it in older sitcoms like “Friends” (1994), you could smoke in offices, coffee shops and almost anywhere else. Your consideration to not smoke near a child would matter a lot, though. However, over recent years, there are only a few locations that still allow smoking in public areas. Even in Europe, there are places that are pretty strict with rules on smoking and there are places that are a bit looser with the laws. 

In my opinion, laws on this matter should not have to be up because it’s a matter of ethics. Very common ethics at that. If you smoke, especially when you smoke cigarettes, you should have the common sense to not smoke around people who don’t or try to blow the smoke towards a different direction. In other situations, know where you can dispose of your cigarettes and check to see if there are any designated ashtrays too. As mentioned before as well, make sure to just not smoke around children. All this, as a smoker myself, is just common ethics to avoid causing secondhand smoking as well as just being a nuisance in public.

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Nonetheless, in a lot of places, it’s better to have these laws so that people who don’t smoke would not get offended or affected. Among the many countries in Europe, there are a few differences in laws on smoking. For instance, in the UK, it has become illegal to most in any establishment. However, a lot of the places in the UK still allow vaping, so your vape juice UK would not go to waste. As for some of the other countries, here’s a little explanation of the laws on smoking: 

Albania

Albania is a beautiful place with beautiful culture. A part of their culture that I find very sweet is a tradition called “xhiro”. In this tradition that is part of their culture, they simply go out for a walk at the end of the day to burn off any excess from the day alongside catching up with their neighbours. It’s just a really sweet part of their culture, in my opinion. Back to the case at hand, laws on smoking in Albania are pretty straightforward. It is not allowed to smoke in restaurants or bars, however, it depends on the restaurants or bars themselves. Like a lot of other places, it just depends on where you go. Most of the time, bars allow smoking since that is what people normally do when they drink or hang out with friends. 

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Austria

As for Austria, they have implemented a ban on smoking in all public spaces since the month of November 2019. However, it is possible to find designated smoking areas in larger spaces like malls and whatnot where you can smoke your heart out (please don’t do that in a literal sense). If smaller locations like bars or restaurants wanted to allow smoking, the owners would have to acquire a special smoking permit that states that they are allowed to allow smoking. 

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Belgium

In Belgium, the laws on smoking are a bit more detailed and strict. Before the year 2011, smoking was only banned in eateries. However, since the month of July in 2011, smoking is not allowed in any establishment except for when the establishments have a permit for a designated smoking area. On top of that, those areas can only take up to 25% of the establishment area. Provided that they also have proper ventilation so that smoke does not linger. Lingering smoke can cause not only secondhand smoking but it can also cause third-hand smoking. Third-hand smoking can be caused by the smoking residue that is left on surface areas. 

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Croatia

Croatia can be considered a beautiful little hidden gem. The laws of smoking here are a little loose too. Up until 2009, there was an existing smoking ban, however, it was lifted shortly after because they realized how hard it was to actually control it. Nonetheless, it is not encouraged, sometimes not allowed, for people to smoke in restaurants. But you can go ahead and smoke in bars. 

Greece

Very few establishments in Greece allow smoking now. It’d be somewhat a hidden gem if it did allow smoking. This is because up until 2020, they have already had a ban on smoking in establishments however, since 2020, enforcement has been stronger and more strict. So if you want to hang out with friends and smoke, I suggest you do it in your own private space like your home or backyard. 

At the end of the day, no matter where you are, try your best to just be aware of who and where you’re smoking. This is because although whether you smoke or not is entirely up to you, you should be considerate of who you’ll be affecting in that process. Basically, just do what you want to do with consideration and common sense and you would be fine. 

Europe actually has places that have weird and interesting laws too, check out that article here!