Smoke-Free Patios

Three years ago, an exciting journey began for us, Hilary and I. We were blessed with the joy of expecting our first child, Theodor. That moment marked the beginning of a new phase in our life where everything revolved around our growing family, which now includes our two adorable kids. One significant change in our lifestyle was an increased awareness and effort to avoid secondhand smoke – a task that proved to be more challenging than anticipated in Austria, particularly when trying to enjoy a meal or a coffee outdoors.

Austria boasts beautiful landscapes, splendid architecture, and vibrant cafe culture, which can be best enjoyed on a patio on a pleasant day. However, the charm fades when accompanied by the lingering smoke from cigarettes. Although the country has made commendable strides by banning indoor smoking a few years ago, outdoor smoking, particularly on patios, still remains an issue. With around 20% of Austrians being smokers, it’s nearly impossible to find an outdoor spot untouched by the wafts of smoke.

It’s a scene all too familiar: we sit down to enjoy the weather, only to find ourselves surrounded by smoke that somehow always finds its way to our table – irrespective of where the smoker is seated. This not only mars the experience but also poses health risks, especially to our children. On numerous occasions, we’ve had to relocate our table or even move indoors, in spite of the beautiful weather, just to protect our family’s health and enjoyment.

Our vision is simple: Smoke-Free Patios. We want to champion establishments that are willing to provide smoke-free patios or, at the very least, dedicated smoke-free areas within their outdoor spaces. Until now, we’ve unfortunately not come across a single venue that offers such an amenity. But that does not deter us – in fact, it fuels our mission.

This is not just our mission, it’s a collective effort. We are actively looking for establishments with family-friendly smoking policies, and we invite you – our readers – to engage in this search. If you come across any places that fit the bill, let us know. We are eager to create a growing community that lobbies for smoke-free patios, either voluntarily or mandated by law.

But for this mission to be successful, we need you. We need your experiences, your discoveries, and your support. Share this mission with your friends and family. Let’s strive together for a healthier, happier patio experience – for ourselves, our children, and generations to come.

The cause is clear, the mission is set. Let’s make a difference, one patio at a time.

Every breath counts,
Hilary & Markus