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Commission Looks to EU-Wide Smoking Ban

The European Commission is preparing for a smoking ban across the European Union, with legislation introduced as early as next year, according to several media reports Tuesday.

Cigarette in ashtray
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Cigarette in ashtray

Many EU members already have some kind of smoking ban, but how those bans are enforced and how many exceptions there are vary by country to country.

"Because of the higher levels of illness it creates, smoking damages the economy by diminishing productivity and burdens the health care system each year with billions of euros in costs," John Dalli, EU commissioner for health and consumer policy, told German newspaper Die Welt.

"We need a complete ban on smoking in all public spaces, transport and the workplace," he told the publication.

Smokers and puff in cafes in Belgium as long as food is not served, while an investigation in Greece found that patrons in an average eight out of 10 bars ignored the ban, according to EUObserver.com.