Expatica news

Plan to stub out public smoking

25 January 2005

BRUSSELS – Belgium could be on course for a ban on smoking in restaurants and cafes, it emerged on Tuesday.

Health Minister Rudy Demotte is to suggest to the cabinet that Belgium follows the lead of Ireland and Italy.

The minister is thinking about a total ban since he feels many restaurant owners and landlords are failing to respect current rules on no-smoking areas.

At the moment, any restaurant or cafe with a floor space of more than 50 square metres must have a no-smoking zone, clearly marked as off-limits to smoking.

It must be at least half the area of the inside of the restaurant.

Establishments must also have effective ventilation systems so that non-smokers are not badly effected by tobacco smoke.

The Federal Agency for Food Safety found in checks that 43 percent of places were flouting the rules – 2,655 cases out of 6,116 checks.

A survey of 1,070 Belgians showed the majority were in favour of a smoking ban.

As a first step, Demotte intends negotiating with hotels, restaurants and catering firms to see if they will agree to extending no-smoking sections to three-quarters of their seating areas – a measure that was a precursor to the bans in Italy and Ireland.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news