Holland - smoking ban temporarily halted for smaller cafes run by their owners alone..

July 15, 2009 - The smoking ban in Dutch cafes and restaurants has been partially suspended after a second appeal court - the Leeuwarden appeal court - ruled that the law does not apply to small cafes that do not employ staff.

Consequently, the Ab Klink, the Dutch health minister has temporarily halted enforcement of the smoking ban on possibly thousands of these smaller cafes run by their owners alone. Checks and fines imposed by the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority will cease until the law is changed, in what is seen as a public health "disaster."

The law remains in force for larger cafes that employ staff.

Mr Klink plans to amend the law, to remove any "lack of clarity" and to create a completely smoke-free hospitality industry "without exceptions." But this must first go before parliament and so cannot come into force until the third week in September.
(Holland, Netherlands, Dutch)

Reference: Legal loophole sees hundreds of Dutch cafes escape smoking ban, Tony Sheldon, BMJ 2009;339:b2824, 7/13/2009.

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