Court rules cafes and bars can set up smoking rooms

Cafes and bars can continue to set up special smoking rooms where customers can light up, judges in The Hague said on Wednesday.

Anti-smoking lobby group Clean Air Nederland had gone to court in an effort to have all smoking rooms abolished. It argues that allowing cafes and bars to sanction smoking in certain areas conflicts with international treaties signed by the Netherlands.

The court ruled that CAN cannot call on the World Health Organisation treaty which requires signatories to actively combat the use of tobacco and to protect people against tobacco smoke.

The text of the treaty does not state that there should be a ban on smoking or that countries are obliged to introduce one, the judges said in their ruling.

The hospitality industry says it is pleased with the verdict. ‘We have worked hard to ensure that both smokers and non smokers are welcome in cafes and bars,’ a spokesman told website ‘The smoking room is a part of that.’

CAN said immediately that it would appeal.