Tobacco lobby helps bars fight smoking ban

The tobacco industry is helping small cafes and bars fight the ban on smoking introduced last July, according to research by the NRC newspaper.

The treasurer of the small cafe owners lobby group told the paper his organisation has received some €50,000 from tobacco companies. Ton Wurtz also said that he regular meets with the chairman of the tobacco industry federation SSI for strategy talks.
The lobby group Red de kleine horecaondernemer (save the small cafe owner) has 1,200 members.
The smoking ban was introduced in July 2008 to protect workers in bars and cafes from the effect of second-hand smoke. But small cafes without staff argue they have been unfairly treated and dozens have defied the ban. Several court cases fighting the ban are already under way.
Legal action
Tobacco companies are also in talks with the cafe owners organisation’s law firm about financing further court cases.
Lawyer Marco Gerritsen of the legal firm Van Diepen Van der Kroef said: ‘We are talking with a number of parties about financing a fundamental legal procedure, including SSI’. But nothing has yet been agreed, he said.
Wurtz is also involved with the pro-smoking lobby group Rokersbelangen, the paper says.

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