Junior health minister Paul Blokhuis wants to ban smoking on cafe terraces and says tough new rules will be unavoidable to really tackle smoking, Dutch media reported on Thursday.
‘I don’t think we can avoid tougher measures,’ he said. ‘We have a long way to go to catch up,’ he said, referring to the US where smoking rules are much stricter than in the Netherlands.
Blokhuis told NOS radio he is working together with social organisations, centres of expertise and the health sector to reduce smoking and says a ban on smoking on terraces should be part of a national agreement.
Cigarettes are already poised to become more expensive and measures are in the pipeline to reduce the number of outlets where tobacco products are sold.
Blokhuis said he is also talking to health insurance companies about anti-smoking aids, which are no longer covered by insurance after two failed attempts. ‘Insurers are open to change,’ he said, but no deal has yet been reached.
Figures published by the national statistics office CBS on Thursday morning show some 23% of people over the age of 25 in the Netherlands are regular smokers.
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