Dutch reinforce ban

| February 14, 2018

A Dutch court yesterday upheld an appeal by anti-cigarette campaigners by disallowing a tobacco-smoking-ban exemption that had allowed separate smoking areas to be set up in cafés and bars, according to a MedicalXpress story.

A general ban on smoking in restaurants, pubs and bars was introduced in the Netherlands in 2008, but, under the exemption, cafes smaller than 70 square metres (753 square feet) were allowed to set aside areas for smokers behind floor-to-ceiling glass partitions.

These areas had to be less-attractively decorated than the rest of the café, and no food or drink could be served inside.

Even so, more than 25 percent of small cafés in the Netherlands include such spaces.

But the court in The Hague found that such spaces were ‘in conflict’ with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the Netherlands signed and which entered into force in 2005.

‘The tobacco laws banning smoking also cover smoking rooms, the court ruled, adding therefore the exception to the legislation was ‘invalid’.

Clean Air Netherlands (CAN), which had appealed after losing an earlier case in 2016, said it was ‘happy and satisfied’ with yesterday’s ruling.

It said its mission was to strive for a smoke-free society by discouraging tobacco use. ‘Smoking-rooms do not belong with this; therefore this is a small step in the right direction,’ it said in a note on its website.

It was not clear when or if the smoking-rooms would be closed, because there could be a further appeal, Dutch media was reported as saying.

The court threw out CAN’s claim that the ban covered all indoor public smoking spaces, saying it had not provided sufficient evidence.


Category: Breaking News, Litigation, People, Regulation

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