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New Austrian health minister hopes to implement total smoking ban by next election

VIENNA, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- On the same day she was officially appointed as new Austrian Federal Health Minister on Monday, Sabine Oberhauser said she wanted to introduce a total ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants before the next national elections in 2018.

In an interview in the ZIB2 television program from public service broadcaster ORF on Monday evening, Oberhauser said she hoped to finally push through legislation her predecessor Alois Stoeger could not.

She said she was aware that there is resistance to the plan, though said she wanted to protect not only guests but also employees in affected businesses.

The Kronen Zeitung newspaper reported that Oberhauser also seemed to be against a proposal from Stoeger who had previously said that establishments which have already invested funds in separating smoking and non-smoking areas could be compensated if the ban becomes law, indicating they do not need to be compensated.