Netherlands the smoking ban must be enforced - Ab Klink, Health Minister...

November 18, 2008 - On July 1, 2008 the Netherlands (Holland, Dutch) followed other European countries in banning tobacco. Ireland was the first country in the region to forbid smoking in public places in 2004. Sweden, Italy, Malta, France, Belgium, Finland, Lithuania, Portugal and England and others have followed, with full or partial restrictions.

Now that the weather is turning colder in the Netherlands the smoking ban is really beginning to bite – smokers don't find it quite so much fun sitting on a cafe terrace in the pouring rain and wind. So bar owners all over the country are bringing back the ashtrays. If everyone flocks to the one bar that does allow smoking, the others are going to do everything they can to get their customers back.

Ab Klink, the health minister, has to show defiant cafe and bar owners who is in charge. He's not going to win any friends among smokers by clamping down on those who are deliberately flouting the law. But at the moment the law, and Klink himself, are being made to look foolish.

In a typically Dutch fashion, a situation would be created in which smoking would be officially banned but still tolerated.

Reference: To smoke or not to smoke..,, 11/17/2008.

Monday 17 November 2008