The Germans were relatively late with the introduction of non-smoking laws. It was not until 2007 that the German federal-states started banning smoking in public places and areas, and, unfortunately, these laws vary from state to state. In most cases, smoking is banned in all restaurants and cafés; however, in all states, with the exception of Bavaria the proprietor can permit smoking in a separate room that is well sealed off from the main room. In order to avoid the smell of smoke while dining, is best to enquire about the smoking regulations when booking. There are a number of laws that allow smoking to continue. One of these allows smoking in a one-room bar or club which is smaller than 75 sq meters and where food isn’t served. Another allows clubs and bars to be “smoker's clubs", and therefore allow its patrons to smoke. These establishments must have a “smokers club” sign on the door, visible from the street.
If the restaurant does not offer a smoking area, you will be forced to step outside to light up. Most restaurants have an ashtray at the entrance, some even offer a table to stand at.
You are usually permitted to smoke outdoors in beer-gardens, patio restaurants and sometimes in tents could be dangerous!
Smoking is banned on all forms of public transport including railway platforms except in designated smoking areas, which are clearly marked. Depending on the state, the ban can also apply to other public buildings, such as schools, sport facilities, museums, airports and hospitals. Penalties for violating the law are strictly enforced.