Minister wants to give boost to enforcement of smoking ban
Health Minister Edith Schippers has told parliament that she wants to crack down on bars, restaurants and discos that ignore the smoking ban. However, she rejected as unnecessary suggestions to hire more inspectors.
The minister argued that now that small bars and cafes have been excluded from the ban, inspectors will have more time to focus on larger establishments which routinely violate the ban. Ms Schippers said that additional inspectors were not an option because the government wants to reduce the number of government workers and needs to make 18 billion euros' worth of budget cuts.
However, she said she wanted to substantially raise the fines - currently between 300 and 2,400 euros - imposed for violations of the smoking ban. Minister Schippers agreed to make it easier for people to report bars and discos flaunting the smoking ban. She also agreed to discuss with her colleagues a proposal to ban smoking in schoolyards.
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