Hooray for federalism!

Not here, in Germany, where the nation’s smoking ban has been undermined by intransigent smokers, rebellious bar owners, and state-level exceptions:

Bars in Berlin have been granted a reprieve, restaurants in Bavaria have found a loophole by converting to private clubs and the state’s famed Oktoberfest will for now remain a smoking zone.

That decision was taken by Bavarian premier Guenther Beckstein, who is due to fight state elections during the world’s biggest beer festival this year and openly worries that the ban will cost his conservatives votes.

In three other German states courts have watered down the new tobacco laws, ruling that in smaller pubs sparking up is legal again.

“The smoking ban is a failure,” said Siggi Ermer, the chairman of the country’s biggest anti-tobacco lobby, Pro Rauchfrei.