Confusion continues over Dutch smoking ban

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Governing parties are calling for rules to be changed so the smoking ban must be complied by small cafes and bars.

The Hague – A majority of the parliament believes hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars must remain smoke free.

In a debate on Thursday, governing parties Christian Democrats, Labour Party and Christian Union are calling for rules to be changed to ensure there are no exemptions to the smoking ban introduced in July 2008.

The debate was prompted by an appeals court’s ruling on Tuesday which said there are no legal grounds for small bars run by the owners and do not employ any staff to comply with the smoking ban.

The appeals court of Den Bosch, found two owners of the Victoria cafe in Breda not guilty of having contravened the ban.

The ban on smoking in the hotel, restaurant and catering industry had sought to protect staff from the dangers of second-hand smoke inhalation.

In a letter to parliament, Health Minister Ab Klink apologised over the political and social confusion about the ban. He added he would wait for the court of appeal's decision in a case against another cafe in Groningen before deciding what further steps to take.

The Groningen cafe, De Kachel, is appealing against a fine of EUR 1,200 for failing to comply with the ban. It is unclear when a verdict will be delivered because the cafe has now asked the court to adjourn the case.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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