Germany's southern state of Bavaria on Wednesday adopted a new law banning smoking in public places, restaurants and, in theory, at Munich's beloved October beer festival.
The toughest smoking ban announced so far in any of Germany's 16 states will take effect on January 1, 2008, according to a spokesman for the regional parliament.
AdvertisementThe Bavarian law goes further than anti-tobacco regulations in the rest of the country by not allowing for smoking sections inside restaurants. People will still be allowed to light up in beer gardens and on restaurant terraces.
The premier of Bavaria, Guenther Beckstein, promised that he would not send police round to the famed tents of the Oktoberfest next year to enforce the smoking ban.
The world's biggest beer festival, which dates back to 1810, is a money-spinner for Munich. It brings in about a billion euros (1.4 billion dollars) a year for the Bavarian capital.
Beer sales at the festival were up 10 percent this year to 6.7 million litres (11.8 million pints).
Germany has long lagged behind other European nations in terms of anti-smoking laws but in September implemented a country-wide ban on smoking in administration buildings and on public transport.