Swiss voters have rejected a nationwide indoor smoking ban in public places after a referendum was held by a two-to-one margin.
Indoor smoking restrictions at most public places have already been in effect since 2010, but the ban would have included designated smoking rooms at hotels, bars and restaurants that were previously exempt.
The measure was supported by a slim majority in Geneva, though strong opposition to it was apparent throughout most other parts of the country. Smoking room bans already exist in Geneva and seven other Swiss states, known as cantons.
In some cantons, in excess 70 percent of voters rejected the ban, according to the La Tribune de Geneve newspaper.
The Swiss Business Federation hailed the result as "heartening," citing that tighter restrictions on smoking would have "weighed on the restaurant sector as well as other economic sectors."
"The initiative would have imposed more costs on restaurateurs who have already made considerable investments to protect non-smokers," the Federation said in a statement.
The Swiss Socialist party denounced the result, saying workers would be unfairly subjected to the health threats of second-hand smoke.
In cantons where smoking room bans are already in effect, there has been a 20 percent drop in hospitalization due to respiratory illnesses, heart attacks and other smoking-related health problems, according to Dr. Jean-Charles Rielle, who helped author the proposal, AFP reported.
While smoking has been medically linked to a number of health issues, inlcluding lung cancer and heart disease, it is believed that voters rejected the complete ban over the perception of intrusion of the state.
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