Germany is unlikely to follow many of its European counterparts and ban smoking in public buildings, experts believe.
"I think that restaurants have to be given the chance to decide if they want to be smoking restaurants," she told a German television station.
The German government is currently debating legislation to tighten up the country's smoking laws in public buildings.
Its smoking laws are among the most relaxed in western Europe and they are likely to stay that way, according to influential newspaper Der Spiegel, which has dubbed the country "a smoker's paradise".
The powerful tobacco lobby has managed to win over politicians from both the left and the right to support watered-down anti-smoking regulations, said the newspaper.
By Daniel Thomas