Austria’s new government: a victory for the tobacco industry and public health disaster?
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Medical University of Vienna, Center of Public Health
Austrian Academy of Science,Commission on Climate and Air Quality
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A118
In Austria the conservative Austrian People’s Party (German Oesterreiche Volkpartei, OeVP) won the 2017 elections, and negotiated with the third-largest party, the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria (Freiheitliche Partei Oesterreichs, FPOe) to form a new government. In its election campaign, the FPOe had promised not to let the tobacco law (passed by the parliament in 2015 with the votes of social democrats, OeVP and Green Party) enter into force on May 1st, 2018. Members of ENSP appealed to the prime minister not to give in. Nevertheless OeVP agreed to cancel the foreseen smoking ban in the hospitality industry and traded this drawback against the acceptance of the free trade agreement CETA by FPOe. The prime minister even agreed to weaken the present regulation. Therefore the Austrian Council on Smoking & Health commissioned a public opinion poll.

A representative sample of the Austrian population aged 15+ years was questioned in January 2018 by computer-assisted web interviews.

70% of the Austrian population voted for a smoke-free hospitality industry, 29% for changing the law according to the proposal of the government, and 1% abstained. Subgroup analyses showed a majority for smoke-free restaurants and bars in both sexes, all age groups and all provinces, with the highest approval in counties with tourist traffic. Only in men with low education no majority was reached.

Austrians are smarter than their present government or the latter might be corrupted by tobacco industry and trade. Further possibilities will be discussed.

The Austrian Council on Smoking & Health used the travel budget foreseen for participation at the WCToH in Capetown, to commission a public opinion survey in Austria instead.

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