Restaurants and bars in the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Bavaria have found a way to legally flout the country's new smoking ban by converting their businesses to smoking clubs.
Bars and restaurants across the country have been reporting decreased revenues due to the smoking ban, but the national German smoker's club DRC offers a partial solution that an increasing number of establishments in the two states are choosing in order to keep their smoking customers. For €25, bars can buy a bright-yellow sign to indicate their DRC membership, and then set special private "club hours" for DRC members, who can register online for €9.95 per year.
The DRC has some 600 member clubs, 200 of which have signed on in just the last two weeks after smoking ban enforcement went into effect on July 1, German broadcaster WDR reported last week.
"Smoking bars are springing up like mushrooms right now," Dieter Böhden, owner of the first smoking club in Paderborn, NRW, told the station. Bavaria bars are also jumping on board, with about every tenth bar turned into a smoking club, the station reported. More...