THE HAGUE, Saturday - From 1 July 2014, the smoking ban is to apply to the whole of the Dutch hospitality sector. Healthcare State Secretary Martin van Rijn plans to present an amendment to the Tobacco Act to the Lower House by next October, he said Friday.
The Netherlands already had a total ban on smoking in the hospitality sector (horeca). But this was relaxed by the previous government so that smoking was allowed in small pubs. The present conservative (VVD)-Labour (PvdA) coalition is now getting rid of this exemption.
Smoking will in future still be allowed in separate rooms in bars and cafes that want such a space. But no service is allowed there and the door must be kept shut. “It must become normal that nowhere in the horeca there is smoking,” said the state secretary.
Now that it has been decided to make the hospitality sector completely smoke-free, it is “important to make an end to the long debate,” says Van Rijn. He is counting on support for the proposal in both houses of parliament.