Wednesday 22 January 2020

Anti-smoking lobby targets cafe smoking areas with new court case

ashtray outside an office blockAnti-smoking organisation Clean Air Nederland said on Wednesday it is going to court to force the Dutch state to impose a total ban on smoking in cafes, bars and clubs.

Currently cafes can allow smoking if they have a suitable sealed off area. However, Clean Air says this goes against the letter of the law and contradicts all the agreements the Netherlands has made.

‘It is now time that the health and welfare of all cafe and restaurant guests is taken seriously,’ Tom Voeten, chairman of Clean Air Nederland told broadcaster RTL news.

‘The concentration of cancer causing substances is unacceptably high in almost all smoking areas,’ he said. ‘Every year, 3,000 non-smokers die because of being unwitting passive smokers.’

Outdoors

Meanwhile, news magazine Elsevier says the ban on smoking in cafes and bars is unlikely to be extended to outdoor terraces in the near future.

A cafe owner in Tilburg has recently created a smoke-free zone on part of his terrace and hopes it will act as an inspiration to others.

According to Elsevier, even though a majority of the population supports a ban on smoking outside cafes, most political parties are not in favour, or think it premature.

The ruling VVD says the move would cause too many problems for owners, particularly those who have been hit hard by the ban on indoor smoking. Most other parties say they consider the issue one for cafe and bar owners themselves to decide.

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