Gov't wants to close smoking areas in Dutch restaurants, bars within two years: report

Marlboro cigarettes wiki commons
cigarettes. ()

The Ministry of Public Health Welfare and Sports wants to close all smoking areas in restaurants in bars, restaurants and other catering establishments in the Netherlands within two years. State Secretary Paul Blokhuis will announce this on Friday, sources in The Hague told NOS.

Blokhuis is responding to a court ruling in a lawsuit filed by Clean Air Nederland. In February the court ruled that all smoking areas in restaurants, bars and cafes must close. 

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 areas is contrary to the World Health Organization's rules on combating tobacco use. 

Blokhuis went into cassation against the ruling, because he disagrees with a technical detail in the ruling. This is mainly a stalling tactic, so that Blokhuis can prepare the catering industry for closing their smoking areas while the Supreme Court considers the case, according to NOS. If the Public Health State Secretary hadn't gone into cassation, the smoking areas would have to close immediately.