December 19, 2009 - Belgium was the first European country to introduce Belgium to introduce pictorial health warnings on cigarette packets - beginning in April 2007. However, the legislation on smoking in bars is complex, weak and confusing.
The Belgian Parliament has decided to postpone a total ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants until 2014. Professor Simon Capewell, speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology, described the decision as “catastrophic”. Based on their research and extrapolation from observed efforts of an effective ban in other countries, this regrettable decision will result in 5,000 additional deaths and over 10,000 non-fatal heart attacks and strokes in Belgium until 2014. (5000 Deaths : A Catastrophic, Regrettable Decision In Belgium, Red Orbit, 12/9/2009)
A total ban on smoking in pubs and cafés has been postponed until 2014. From January 2010 smoking will be banned in pubs where you can enjoy prepared meals. Smokers will continue to be able to light up in pubs where only drinks are served.
As of 01 January 2010, the new law will mean a ban on smoking in all places of work and in all places accessible by the public. Smoking in pubs where meals are served will also be outlawed. However, smoking will still be permitted in casinos, pubs and nightclubs where only pre-packaged foodstuffs are up for sale.
The Flemish Cancer League claims that the ban with exemptions for some pubs until 2014 is discriminatory in its present form and is in violation of the Belgian Constitution. The League is raising the matter before the Constitutional Court. The non-profit organisation is pressing for a total ban in all pubs by 2012.
The League's Vincent Coignez says that all scientists are convinced that cigarette smoke is harmful. In 2005 the World Health Organisation issued a recommendation calling for a total ban on the use of tobacco products in public places.
More - Tobacco in Belgium - Euromonitor.com..
Belgium - map..
Reference: Smoking ban before Belgian Constitutional Court, Expatica.com, 12/10/2009; League Against Cancer wants new smoking law to be annulled, Flanders Today - Mediargus.be, 12/8/2009.