Wednesday, 14 April 2010


No, this is not the title of some improbable Swiss answer to Pouilly Fumé. Instead, it's the name given to a new phenomenon in Basel since the local smoking ban came into force here in bars and restaurants on 1 April.

As any outsider who has lived in downtown Switzerland for any length of time will testify, the Swiss smoke like chimneys. Apparently around 70% of the population don't smoke, although I sometimes feel that the people who compiled smoking statistics for Switzerland got their figures the wrong way round. While the most of the rest of Europe introduced smoking ban in pubs and restaurants some years ago, Switzerland is still dragging its feet in this respect. Take the recent attempts, for example, by a sizeable minority of pubs in Basel to exploit a loophole in the new ban by introducing "smoking clubs" or Fumoirs. The idea is that the patrons who frequent these establishments become fully signed-up members of these Fümoars (as some clever clogs decided to call them) and consequently can continue to puff away on their ciggies regardless of the ban.

The theoretical problem with this approach is that occasional "walk-in" custom at these establishments will be a thing of the past, owing to the fact that all patrons must already be members. However, it remains to be seen how exploitation of this loophole in the new law is going to be policed. Are the Rozzers going to turn up at every pub to demand the personal details of every Tom, Dick and Harry?

With the smoking ban due to take effect nationwide from 1 May, it remains to be seen whether Basel's Fümoar furore will be a short-lived affair. Word is that the legal loopholes at local level will hold no weight once the whole of Switzerland is finally singing from the same song sheet.

1 comment:

  1. and its way past the 1. may and we are still smoking-(hot)! Because the Nation wide bann is not as striked as the local Law. The Local Laws forbidd smoking in EVERY public room. The National only takes in the restaurants.

    The National Law there for has no effect on the Fümoars Clubs because they are no restaurant nor Bar anymore.
    They are a Club.
    Witch allsow means they are not a public room... so all Laws (till now) cant forbit this system

    sorry for my bad english...Im Swiss