Cafe smoking ban goes into effect everywhere

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From today it is forbidden to smoke in all cafes. This was determined by Secretary of State Van Rijn in response to a ruling by the Supreme Court two weeks ago.

The smoking ban also applies to small cafes without employees. The Supreme Court ruled that is unlawful to make an exception for these cafes.

Van Rijn was already working on a total smoking ban for January 1st 2015, but that has now been moved forward.

"That the exemption expires, is no surprise for the cafe entrepreneurs who hitherto had an exceptional position." Van Rijn said, "The rate at which it is happening now, is new. The exemption for small cafes has been immediately cancelled by the Supreme Court, and so we have to implement it directly."

If cafe owners continue to allow smoking, they will get a warning for the first time up to 2015. Then follows a 600 euro fine. From next year the fine will be issued without the warning.

Cafe owners are not resigned to follow the smoking ban. According to Wiel Maessen, who represents more than a thousand small cafes, he will not be surprised to still see ashtrays on cafe tables today.

He also does not expect that all cafe business will "surrender" easily. "The first actions are already on the way." he says. "Cafe De Kachel in Groningen for example, which also played a major roll in the previous fight, has already let me know that they are definitely going to appeal against this."