Health minister Ab Klink is sticking firm to earlier pledges to introduce a total ban on smoking in cafés, bars and restaurants by July 2008. The cabinet is due to discuss the ban on Friday.
The hospitality lobby group Horeca Nederland wants the ban to be introduced in stages, arguing that cafés and discos are not yet ready for a total ban.
Employers association VNO-NCW said on Thursday that the minister’s decision to ignore the hospitality industry’s proposal to phase in the ban was ‘as low as you can go’. Cafés and discos should be given until 2011 to ready themselves for the ban, the organisation said.
Holland’s hundreds of coffee shops, where people can buy small amounts of cannabis, would probably also be covered by the ban. A majority of MPs said in March they did not support a ban in coffee shops because they were places where people deliberately went to smoke.
Klink suggested that cafés could set up separate smoking rooms without waitress service where people could smoke if they wished. The employers organisation said a year was not long enough to set up separate rooms and that it would also lead to administrative chaos.
Some 30% of the Dutch population smokes. Last week, it emerged that 7% of all deaths in the country are due to lung cancer.
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