Smoking ban bill goes to advisory body
Junior justice minister Martin van Rijn on Tuesday sent his bill tightening up the smoking ban to the government's highest advisory body, the Raad van State.
The changes in the tobacco law will see the smoking ban in bars and cafes reinstated across the entire hospitality industry, including in small establishments run by their owners.
Small bars and cafes began flouting the smoking ban as soon as it was introduced in July 2008, and were later accepted as exempt from the ban because they have no staff. The Dutch smoking ban was introduced to protect workers rather than on public health grounds.
The new law, supported in parliament by all parties except the coalition partner VVD, the anti-immigration PVV, the Socialists and 50Plus, only allows smoking in the hospitality sector in separate sealed-off areas without service.
Van Rijn is attempting to have the new ban properly anchored in law with no exceptions. To this end, he is basing it on European Union law which states the smoking ban is to avoid passive smoking for staff and customers.
The aim is to have the new law in place by July 2014.