The ban, which was passed by the National Council of Austria on 2 July, also applies to shishas and e-cigarettes and all public places where food and drinks are sold, expect for beer gardens. The Council also ruled that restaurant guests will still be allowed to smoke in separate smoking areas.
“Austria now has one of the harshest smoking bans in the EU,” according to the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Mario Pulker.
The ban on hookah bars is unique, the report said. “By doing so, existing companies will be forced to shut down by law,” Pulker added. The possibility of a smoking ban has been discussed for years in Austria, which has led restaurant owners to already invest around EUR 200 million in conversion measures over the years. Now, many owners will have to make further changes and investments in their restaurants, according to the report.