Dutch court bans smoking areas in restaurants, bars

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Restaurants, bars and cafes in the Netherlands may no longer have smoking areas, the court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by non-smokers association Clean Air Nederland (CAN), RTL Nieuws reports.

The Netherlands banned smoking in restaurants and the like in 2008, but added an exception for specially designated smoking areas that must comply to certain rules. The court now ruled that this exception for smoking rooms is contrary to the World Health Organization's rules on combating tobacco use. 

The ruling is a hard blow for the catering industry, which used smoking rooms to still attract smokers to their cafe or restaurant. 

CAN is satisfied with the ruling, chairman Tom Voeten said, according to the broadcaster. He points out that the entire catering industry in the Netherlands is now smoke-free. Smoking is still allowed on terraces, which are considered public spaces. 

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