Smoking law to be tightened up

The law on smoking in cafes and bars is to be amended to remove a loophole allowing small cafes to ignore the ban, health minister Ab Klink said at the weekend.

On Friday, the Leeuwarden appeal court ruled small cafe De Kachel did not have stop people smoking inside because the law does not ban smoking as such.
Instead, the law states that cafes have to take steps to protect staff against smoking. But this cannot apply to cafes without staff, the court said.
Earlier, the owner of cafe Victoria in Breda was found not guilty of breaking the law on the same grounds.
Legal action
‘We will take the court’s ruling into account in the amendment,’ Klink said after the ruling was published. ‘We will not wait for a further appeal.’
Small cafe owners now plan to take legal action to recover the thousands of euros they have paid in fines for breaking the ban and for loss of income, the AD reports.
The small bar owners lobby group KHO, which has backing from the tobacco companies, claims turnover has gone down by an average 15% since the ban was introduced in July 2008.
The total claim could be as high as €100m, the organisation estimates.
Cafes and bars with staff are being warned that the court ruling does not apply to them and the ban remains in force, the AD says.
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