The Christian Democrat’s health minister Ab Klink must so far be in the lead when it comes to ministers and new policy initiatives.
He was barely in office before he announced that he intended to make sure the Netherlands’ bars, cafés and restaurants were smoke-free within a year – much to the fury of the sector, which was quite happy failing to comply with voluntary guidelines and self-regulatory pacts.
Even the coffeeshops – where users can buy small quantities of soft drugs and smoke them away from the rest of the world – were under threat to become smoke-free.
He then torpedoed an advertising campaign attempting to up organ donation numbers because it showed too much naked flesh and was therefore not appropriate.
Next on the list of urgent issues was the ‘happy hour’ – cafés and bars should stop with their half-price beer campaigns, which were only encouraging under-age drinking.
And then it was coffeeshops again – all those within 500 metres of a school should be closed down so as to stop ‘Jan’ and the rest sneaking out at break and getting too stoned to focus on geography.
It is all very well to focus on smoking and drinking, but Klink runs the risk of turning into a moral crusader. Is he minister for health or minister for juvenile delinquents?
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