Austria will kick the cigarette habit this November, at least in bars and restaurants under new legislation passed by the Austrian parliament last week, thanks to a political twist.
The long-proposed plan to end Austria's reputation as "the ashtray of Europe" —one of the last European countries to permit smoking in bars and restaurants—finally succeeded because of a political bribery scandal that brought down the previous government. The bill was pushed through with support of the interim cabinet that will serve until new elections.
The far-right Freedom Party, a minority party in the governing coalition, blocked cabinet support for the bill on previous attempts, But this spring, the party was forced out of the government when its leader was caught in a kickback and bribery scandal.
The anti-smoking legislation was supported by several parties, the Austrian Medical Association and a public petition signed by nearly 15% of Austria's voters.