World

Woman Risks $270K For Smoking On Balcony At Night

| by Michael Allen

A 52-year-old woman in Berlin, Germany, faces a $270,000 fine, or six months in jail, if she is caught smoking on the balcony of her apartment after 8 p.m.

The woman, identified only as Uta F., told the German-language news site B.Z. Berlin: "I don’t smoke a lot -- in the evening with wine or sometimes when I cannot sleep at night," notes The Local.

She has lived in the same apartment for nine years, but her upstairs neighbor took her to court over the smoke because it was blowing into his unit.

The court ruled that Uta F. cannot smoke between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., which both she and her neighbor reportedly agreed to. Because both parties agreed, there will not be an appeal on the judgment.

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With the threat of a substantial fine or prison sentence looming, a court spokeswoman stated: "This punishment is, however, very unlikely."

Free Democratic Party member Holger Krestel condemned the ruling: "Forbidding an occasional smoker from having an evening cigarette on her own balcony constitutes a very big encroachment on her personal sphere."

In a similar case, the Austrian Supreme Court ruled in December 2016 that a man in Vienna could not smoke his cigars with his apartment windows open or on his balcony during certain hours, noted RT.com.

The man was banned from smoking most of the day, and told not to light up between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

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The man was taken to court by a neighbor who lived one floor below him. The neighbor, an university professor, said that most of the cigar smoking happened at night.

At the time, Senate President of the Supreme Court Karl-Heinz Danzl told the Austria Press Agency: "For the first time a smoking case has been heard at the OGH [Austrian Supreme Court]."

Sources: The Local, RT.com / Photo Credit: Stefan-Xp/Wikimedia Commons

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