Cafes want 10-year smoke-free exemption
2 December 2003
AMSTERDAM — Despite evidence indicating passive smoking is more dangerous than previously thought, the cafe, restaurant and hotel industry has requested at least a 10-year exemption on looming smoke-free workplace legislation.
Branch organisation Koninklijk Horeca Nederland (KHN) also said on Tuesday it wants to use a system of self-regulation to restrict the smoke problems encountered in the nation’s entertainment sector, NOS reported.
Britain has previously implemented a self-regulation system and according to KHN, the system has exceeded expectations. Consumers can choose to enter premises with or without smoking policies.
Furthermore, KHN is demanding a guarantee from Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst that premises that install air ventilation equipment be deemed to have met the new regulations. It said the investment in such equipment would not be possible if the premises would then be forced become smoke free five years later.
It also said there was no support among workers and guests for a smoke-free environment and dismissed claims indicating there are 30 percent smokers compared with 70 percent non-smokers. KHN said in some places, such as cafes and bars, smokers are in the majority.
The branch organisation warned in May that 50,000 industry jobs could be lost if the entertainment sector was forced to become smoke-free, but the claim was hotly criticised as scare mongering.
The government legislation states that workers have a right to a smoke-free workplace. Cafes, restaurants and bars have already been given a temporary reprieve from the anti-smoking legislation, as have the nation’s infamous coffee shops.
The Health Council has since advised the government that research indicates second-hand smoke is much more dangerous than previously thought, killing thousands of people each year in the Netherlands.
The council said passive smoking can cause heart disease, lung cancer and cot death. It also said passive smokers have a 20 percent more chance of contracting lung cancer and a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
[Copyright Expatica News 2003]
Subject: Dutch news