Continuing with the Swiss plebiscite which is taking place today, the following comes courtesy of Reinhold in Bavaria, and Carolus and Christoph in Switzerland.
There’s a battle taking place, right in the centre of the European continent, in a country that’s most famous for its freedom and neutrality: in Switzerland.
Because there is no freedom and neutrality any more, when the WHO strikes with its “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control”, and Switzerland has signed (even though not ratified) it, too, and so the anti-smokers regard the country as theirs and tolerate no deviation from their agenda.
Switzerland has had a partial smoking ban since 2010. It allows separate smoking rooms, and owners of pubs smaller than 80 square meters are entitled to decide if they are running a smokers’ or a non-smokers’ pub. Some cantons, however, meanwhile have been successful with plebiscites making the ban locally worse than the nationwide federal law, and there’s one organization that’s always on the spot when an aggravation of the ban is called for: the Lungenliga / Ligue Pulmonaire / Lega Polmonare (Lung League).
The Swiss Lung League is an association that cares for lung patients – and no less eagerly for the persecution of smokers. We all have such a society in our respective country – Switzerland’s ASH is the Lung League.
And as they always do, the anti-smoker organizations push harder every year trying to tighten the grip once again. So this time the Lung League (LL) brought out an Initiative called “Protection from Passive Smoking”. The Swiss people vote on it will be this Sunday, 23rd September.
On their posters, the LL demands in French and Italian “a passive smoke free Switzerland” – whereas in the German parts they proclaim “Passive smoke is harmful” instead. That’s the reason why the interview with Prof. Grieshaber (see yesterday’s post on this blog) is titled “Passive smoke causes no harm”.
For some reason (that I don’t remember exactly) they had to change their slogan to this one. Only four years ago, during their Zurich voting campaign, it still read “PASSIVE SMOKING KILLS, TOO” – written on posters showing shot people gunned down during prohibition back in the 1920s. The pictures were provided by the Californian authorities, they say. Children on their way to school were frightened to see over-sized dead bodies lying in their own blood staring from ad posters (an image of one of these posters is also shown in yesterday’s post).
That’s the LL’s way of informing people about their viewpoint on a matter of health.
If the anti-smoking Initiative is successful on Sunday (today), Switzerland will face a nationwide total smoking ban with no exceptions, just like the UK.
The pub owners fear loss and bankruptcy – rightly, as we know, but we also know that such experience can hardly be passed on from one country to another. So it could well happen that the Swiss voters have never heard of the devastating impacts of smoking bans elsewhere and believe the LL campaigners’ myths about blooming health and economy thanks to the total smoking ban.
Switzerland has even already had its own heart attack miracle: somewhere in a tiny hospital during christmas time a tremendous decline of heart attacks has been detected “scientifically”, a short time after the proclamation of the partial smoking ban in 2010.
But the Lung League has opponents.
People can inform themselves by Internet today and don’t necessarily have to believe what the WHO’s agents and the mass media continue to feed them with. So some of them already know what happened to pubs and smokers in other countries before. And there’s a committee that fights with all its strength against the Initiative: they appeal with “Vernünftig bleiben”, “Stay rational”.
Another organization, a smokers’ club circle in Basel, called “Fümoar” is fighting the anti-smokers’ Iniative, too. Basel is a city that lies where the river Rhine bends and flows northward from here instead of westward. The town has about 180,000 inhabitants – and Fümoar has about 100,000 members (“Fümoar”, by the way, is an artifical word, derived from the French word “fumoir”, which can be translated as “smoking lounge”).
And Basel is the town where the Tageswoche comes out, an extraordinary paper that’s got the courage to print the previous interview with Professor Romano Grieshaber, author of the book that was introduced some months ago here. It caused quite a stir.
Insiders say that the Swiss vote will be a close race. Let’s hope the people concerned will take part and will not stay at home. Because there’s no quorum. No matter how many people walk to the ballots, their majority decides and writes the suppressing law into the Swiss constitution – or prevents Switzerland from joining the nations that regard about a quarter or even a third of their people as second class citizens.
Also H/T Harley for this article about the Swiss vote today, suggesting that the smoking ban won’t pass:
Voters have the final say this Sunday about proposals to tighten anti-smoking laws and tax breaks for elderly home owners. Both initiatives are likely to fail, but a plan to promote musical education is set to win a majority according to opinion polls.
Supporters of stricter regulations against second-hand smoke want to outlaw smoker’s lounges with waiter service and special bars or cafes for tobacco users.
They say an estimated 10,000 people working in the restaurant sector face serious health risks because they are subjected to second-hand smoke.
The Lung League – supported by health organisations, trade unions and centre-left parties – collected enough signatures to force a national vote in a bid to impose a uniform nationwide law banning smoking in indoor working places, but allowing cantons to state exceptions.
However, the business community, centrist and rightwing parties as well as the government have come out against the initiative.
Opponents have argued that the proposed restrictions go too far, threatening the interests of the restaurant sector and interfere with the cherished federalist system giving cantons a large degree of autonomy. They say it does not make sense to amend a hard-fought compromise decided by parliament three years ago.
Currently eight of the 26 cantons, particularly in French-speaking western Switzerland, have banned smoking from restaurants and bars altogether. They only tolerate special rooms without waiter service.
The emotional campaign in the run-up to voting day was marked by allegations of deliberate misinformation by opponents of the initiative.
I hope that this more optimistic report proves correct. I might even visit Switzerland again if the antis lose. I spent a week in Zurich in about 1967.