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Court restricts smoker's balcony cigar habit to certain times

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Court restricts smoker's balcony cigar habit to certain times
File photo: STEPHEN BURCH/FLICKR
09:53 CET+01:00
Austria's highest court has ruled on a case about when a Vienna resident can smoke in his own home, which could have far-reaching effects for smokers, and non-smokers sick of smelling their neighbour's cigarette smoke.

A university professor living in Vienna's first district in a 7th floor apartment made an official complaint about his neighbour on the floor below. The 6th floor resident enjoys smoking cigars on his balcony, usually between midnight and 2am. In the winter, he smokes indoors with the windows open.

The professor complained that he could smell the smoke in his bedroom and that it disturbed his sleep. He said that a previous tenant had also complained and even moved out of the flat because his children had respiratory problems.

A district court ruled that the man shouldn't smoke on his balcony at all, or in his apartment when the windows were open. The smoker appealed against this, and the court then said he shouldn't smoke on the balcony or with the windows open between 10pm and 6am. However, the non-smoking professor then appealed against this decision and took the case to the supreme court (OGH).

The court has now come up with a set of rules as to when the man can and can't smoke at home, depending on whether it's winter or summer. It said smoking is not allowed on the balcony or with the windows open between 10pm and 6am and that during the summer a smoking ban should also be upheld during the usual “eating and resting times” - between 8am and 10am, midday and 3pm, and 6pm and 8pm.

The judges said that the ruling was fair as it balanced the interests of the non-smoker and the smoker and does not entirely forbid the neighbour from enjoying his cigar habit. 

 
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