German states must either ban smoking entirely in all restaurants and pubs or relax their rules affecting single-room establishments, the country's highest court ruled Wednesday.
Most German state smoking laws permit larger venues to provide smoking rooms for their patrons, but the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe ruled this is unconstitutional.
Ruling on appeals brought by owners of one-room pubs in the states of Baden Wuerttemberg and Berlin, the court said smoking bans with exceptions discriminate against the smaller venues.
The court ordered states to review their laws, giving parliaments until the end of next year either to ban smoking in all establishments entirely or to revise the exceptions allowed in their laws.
Germany has banned smoking nationwide in government buildings but leaves jurisdiction of bars, restaurants and other public places to the nation's 16 states — all of which have enacted their own varying restrictions.