Austria government on April 10 has decided to ban smoking in cafes and restaurants from 2018. Sabine Oberhauser, Health Minister, said, "We have at last joined Europe in terms of protecting non-smokers."
Under a 2009 law smoking in public areas was banned in Austria but cafes and restaurants were exempted. The future smoking ban includes electronic cigarettes but exempts hotels, which can still maintain smoking rooms.
According to a study conducted in 2012, a third of the country's population are smokers against a EU average of 28 percent. Austria is one among the Western European countries where cigarettes are cheapest.
The country has smoking areas in public places such as supermarkets. Many restaurants and café owners opposed the anti-smoking law. The Austrian chamber of Commerce has said it is looking at taking legal steps against the ban.