Dutch smoking ban does another U-turn

| May 9, 2013

The Netherland’s ban on tobacco smoking in bars and cafés will be reinstated across almost the entire hospitality industry in July next year, according to a DutchNews story quoting junior health minister, Martin van Rijn.

Changes to the tobacco law would be presented to parliament before October so that all legal obstacles could be dealt with and the total ban properly anchored in law, the minister said.

Once the ban was reintroduced, smoking would not be allowed in small cafés and bars run only by their owners, as was presently the case. But it would be permitted in separate sealed-off smoking areas without service.

“We are doing what we can with controls, warnings and fines but our financial resources are limited,” the minister said. “Ultimately… not smoking in any bar of café should become the norm.”

The minister conceded that the Dutch smoking ban been introduced to protect workers rather than the public and therefore small bars and cafés run by their owners had been exempted on the grounds that they had no staff. However, he said that the ban, brought in nearly five years ago, was widely flouted in bigger bars, cafés and nightclubs.

No justification was given in the story as to why small cafés and bars run only by their owners were being punished because larger establishments were breaking the law and law enforcement agencies were failing to crack down on these businesses. And there was no explanation as to why it was thought that law enforcement agencies would be more successful at cracking down on all cafés and bars rather than just some of them.

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Category: Breaking News

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