Hoogervorst threatens total restaurant smoking ban

8th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2006, AMSTERDAM- Minister of health Hans Hoogervorst told parliament on Thursday that he will consider imposing a total ban on smoking in the hotel and catering sector if owners do not move quickly to establish non-smoking areas in their establishments.

8 June 2006

AMSTERDAM- Minister of health Hans Hoogervorst told parliament on Thursday that he will consider imposing a total ban on smoking in the hotel and catering sector if owners do not move quickly to establish non-smoking areas in their establishments. 

The hotel and catering sector had already agreed to the gradual introduction of non-smoking areas for customers, the minister said. The phased plan began last year and was scheduled to end on 1 January 2009.

But hotels and catering establishments were not keeping to the agreement, according to which some 25 per cent of them would already have smoke-free zones for customers, the minister said. Only 11 per cent of cafes presently had smoke-free zones, and only 20 per cent of restaurants did, he said.

By 2006, half of all catering establishments were supposed to have put up a board showing their smoking policy, but only 28 per cent of them had done so.

The minister threatened to introduce a complete ban on smoking in hotel and catering establishments if the sector had not made up the delay by the beginning of next year. Introducing the new legislation would be ‘a piece of cake’, he said.

Hoogervorst has argued for a total ban on smoking in hotels and catering establishments before. Although a number of European countries already have a total ban on smoking in public places, the Dutch parliament (mostly VVD, CDA and LPF) thought that the measure went too far.

Members of the sector were afraid that customers would stay away if they were not allowed to smoke while drinking or eating. The result was a compromise: the sector would regulate its own smoking policy, while the minister would retain his right to introduce a total ban.

The minister said that he thought that it would soon be time to introduce the ban. He said he would have ‘a friendly word’ with the sector about his intentions soon.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006)

Subject: Dutch News

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