Total Smoking Ban

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With a new bill the government wants to enforce a total smoking ban. Until now, there was an exception for sole proprietors, since they have no staff who can be affected by the smoke. The government now wants to include the single proprietors in the ban but the question remains whether they will succeed.

Central issue in the new bill is the health interests of employees and visitors to the hospitality industry. Because passive smoking is not only harmful for personnel but also for customers, the government thinks that this can be used for a total ban. The government has sent the proposal for review to the Council of State.

The government finds itself supported by the House. A majority supported a motion of ChristenUnie MP Carla Dik-Faber to make all catering establishments '100 percent non-smoking’.  Dik-Faber is pleased that the government is doing something with her motion, but has doubts about the legal viability of the new bill. “I hope it will work, but somehow I doubt it. If there is a café where everyone smokes and nobody is there against his will, will the law remain intact?”

Another problem is that the current law allows smoking areas. That goes against the call of the House to make hotels and restaurants 100 percent smoke-free. However, State Secretary Martin van Rijn (Health) does not want cafés that have invested since 2008 in a smoking room will now be punished. In the new law, he wants to make an exception for that group. Dik-Faber wonders if this is going to bring problems. “If you still allow smoking areas here and there, then it is not fair that new cafes may not build a smoking area.”

Lawyer Martin Kamp, who earlier on behalf of a number of restaurant owners argued against the smoking ban, predicts that there will also be protests against the new law. “I expect that  several lawsuits will be filed.”

The final legal text is not yet known. After the Council of State has ruled on the new proposal, it will be sent to the House and be made public.