The ban on smoking in bars and cafes will be reinstated across the entire hospitality industry in July 2014, junior health minister Martin van Rijn said on Friday.
Changes in the tobacco law will be presented to parliament before October so that all legal obstacles can be dealt with and the total ban is properly anchored in law, the minister said.
Once the ban is reintroduced, smoking will be no longer be allowed in small cafes and bars which are run by their owners. It will only be permitted in separate sealed-off smoking areas without service.
‘We are doing what we can with controls, warnings and fines but our financial resources are limited,’ the minister said. ‘Ultimately… not smoking in any bar of cafe should become the norm.’
Small bars and cafes run by their owners have been exempt on the grounds they have no staff. The Dutch smoking ban was introduced to protect workers rather than public health in general.
However, the ban, brought in nearly five years ago, is widely flouted in bigger bars, cafes and nightclubs.
Just 57% of the Netherlands’ bars and cafes now keep to the ban on smoking. Some 61% of discos and 88% of cafes which serve food are smoke free, according to health ministry inspectors.