No extra inspections despite blanket bar and café smoking ban

Government inspectors will not carry out extra checks on Dutch bars and cafes despite the introduction of a total ban on smoking from Wednesday, the Telegraaf reports.

‘It will be business as usual with no extra inspections,’ a spokesman for the NVWA told the paper.

The blanket ban came into effect on Wednesday after the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling stating the exemption for small bars and cafes was illegal.

Small bars and cafes run by their owners have been exempt on the grounds they have no staff. The Dutch smoking ban was introduced in 2008 to protect workers rather than public health in general.

Bigger bars

However, the ban is still 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.

Smoking is still permitted in separate sealed-off smoking areas without service.

Announcing the implementation of the blanket ban, junior health minister Martin van Rijn said the law would be ‘enforced immediately’. Small bars will first be warned they are breaking the law but from January 2015 will face a fine of €600, the minister said.

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