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Netherlands

In 2004, the Netherlands enacted a smokefree law covering public transportation and non-hospitality workplaces, except within separately ventilated rooms. The law was expanded in July 2008 making shopping malls, tobacco shops, gaming establishments, and convention centers smokefree. The 2008 law also covers restaurants, cafes, bars, festival tents, and nightclubs, except in separately ventilated areas not serviced by employees. Employees may only be required to enter such smoking rooms in emergency situations. The smoking of cannabis in coffee shops is still permitted. In January 2008, Schiphol Airport became 100% smokefree, including bars and cafes.

In April 2009, a Dutch court ruled in favor of small bar and café owners who claim the smokefree law favors larger hospitality venues that have more space and revenue to build smoking rooms. The ruling was immediately appealed, and in May 2009, a Dutch appeals court ruled that small bars and cafes with no employees, other than the owner, were exempt.

This May ruling was appealed to the Supreme Court, which denied the appeal in February 2010. The Supreme Court ruled that the law must apply to owner-run pubs and cafes without employees.

In November 2010, the new Dutch government repealed the portion of the law deaing with small cafes and small bars that have no staff, exempting them from the smokefree law and requiring them only to post signs that smoking is permitted. However, in February 2013, the smokefree law was reinstated in small restaurants, bars and cafes in a narrow vote. In March 2013, The appeal court in The Hague ruled that all cafes must be smokefree, with no exception for small cafes run by the owner. In May 2013, the government announced plans to resinstate the smokefree law in bars and cafes by July 2014, except for enclosed areas with no service.

Smokefree News

Same number of smokers smoke fewer cigarettes
DutchNews.nl - April 1, 2014

E-cigarettes have risen in popularity and now account for 3% of cigarette consumption, compared with 1% a year ago. The cabinet is planning to restrict sales of electronic cigarettes to people aged 18 and over. It also put up the age at which teenagers can buy tobacco products from 16 to 18 at the beginning of this year.

Smoking ban bill goes to advisory body
Expatica Netherlands - July 9, 2013

Junior justice minister Martin van Rijn on Tuesday sent his bill tightening up the smoking ban to the government's highest advisory body, the Raad van State. The changes in the tobacco law will see the smoking ban in bars and cafes reinstated across the entire hospitality industry, including in small establishments run by their owners.

More cafes are smoke free, but 35% still break the rules
DutchNews.nl - July 2, 2013

Some 73% of the Netherlands' bars, cafes and clubs now ban smoking, up from 61% at the end of last year, according to new figures from the health and safety ...

Smoking ban inspectors facing agression
DutchNews.nl - May 30, 2013

Government inspectors are too scared to check the smoking ban is not being flouted in cafes and bars and are now travelling in pairs with police back-up, ...

Smoking ban to be reinstated in all cafes next July, says minister
DutchNews.nl - May 3, 2013

The ban on smoking in bars and cafes will be reinstated across the entire hospitality industry in July 2014, junior health minister Martin van Rijn said on Friday. Changes in the tobacco law will be presented to parliament before October so that all legal obstacles can be dealt with and the total ban is properly anchored in law, the minister said. Once the ban is reintroduced, smoking will be no longer be allowed in small cafes and bars which are run by their owners. It will only be permitted in separate sealed-off smoking areas without service.

Small cafes must be smoke free, says appeal court
DutchNews.nl - March 26, 2013

The appeal court in The Hague ruled on Tuesday that smoking must be banned in all cafes, with no exception for small cafes run by the owner. The smoking ban was introduced in 2008 and included all cafes, but in 2011 an exception was introduced for cafes with under 70 square metres of space and no personnel. …

Smoking banned in just one in four secondary schools, says report
Expatica Netherlands - March 25, 2013

Just one in four Dutch secondary school playgrounds are officially smoke-free zones, according to new research by asthma research group Longfonds. The organisation will present the results of its research to junior health minister Martin van Rijn on Monday. It hopes the report will stimulate the minister to ensure smoking is banned in all schools. Half of all smokers had their first cigarette in the playground. …

Lung specialists launch 'name and shame' tobacco lobby website
DutchNews.nl (nl) - March 11, 2013

Two lung specialists have launched a website listing the names and jobs of people it says work for the tobacco industry lobby in the Netherlands. The list on tabaknee.nl also includes health minister Edith Schippers, whom it describes as the ‘minister of tobacco employers’, as well as several other prominent politicians. …

Ministers will press ahead with total smoking ban, may take 18 months
DutchNews.nl - February 28, 2013

The government will press ahead with a ban on smoking in all cafes and bars, including those under 70 m2 which are currently exempt, junior health minister ...

MPs say yes to extending smoking ban to all cafes and bars
DutchNews.nl - February 12, 2013

A small majority of MPs voted on Tuesday afternoon for a motion to reinstate a complete ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes. Small bars and cafes run by their owners have been exempt since the ban was relaxed in 2010 by the previous government. However, the ban, brought in nearly five years ago, is widely flouted in bigger bars, cafes and nightclubs. Although the previous cabinet of social liberal VVD and Christian Democrats, with support from the anti-immigration PVV, relaxed the ban, the CDA has since had a change of heart.

Smoking ban vote set for Tuesday
Expatica Netherlands - February 11, 2013

A narrow majority of MPs will on Tuesday vote in favour of a motion calling for the ban on smoking to be extended across all the country's cafes and bars, the AD ...

Inspectors carried out just 3000 cafe and club smoke ...
Expatica Netherlands - February 4, 2013

However, ministry figures show just 57% of the Netherlands' bars and cafes comply with the ban. Smoking is banned in all bars, cafes and restaurants with the ...

Dutch to discuss full bar-club smoking ban
UPI.com - January 28, 2013

Dutch lawmakers say they are considering reinstatement of a ban on smoking cigarettes in cafes, bars and clubs. …

Smoking is back on the political agenda, as MPs back total café ban
Expatica Netherlands - January 28, 2013

Smoking is back on the political agenda in the Netherlands, now opposition party ChristenUnie plans to make a new effort to have smoking banned in all cafes and bars.

More cafes observe smoking ban, but it's still far from total
DutchNews.nl - December 19, 2012

Some 57% of the Netherlands' bars and cafes now keep to the ban on smoking, compared with 51% in the spring, according to health ministry inspectors. …

Verdonk-Kleinjan, W.M.; Rijswijk, P.C.; de, V.H.; Knibbe, R.A., "Compliance with the workplace-smoking ban in the Netherlands," Health Policy [Epub ahead of print], December 18, 2012.

Nagelhout, G.E.; Willemsen, M.C.; Gebhardt, W.A.; van den Putte, B.; Hitchman, S.C.; Crone, M.R.; Fong, G.T.; van der Heiden, S.; de Vries, H., "Does smoke-free legislation and smoking outside bars increase feelings of stigmatization among smokers? Findings from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Netherlands Survey," Health and Place [Epub ahead of print], August 14, 2012.

This study examined whether smokers' perceived level of stigmatization changed after the implementation of smoke-free hospitality industry legislation and whether smokers who smoked outside bars reported more perceived stigmatization. Longitudinal data from the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Netherlands Survey was used, involving a nationally representative sample of 1447 smokers aged 15 years and older. Whether smoke-free legislation increases smokers' perceived stigmatization depends on how smokers feel about smoking outside. The level of perceived stigmatization did not change after the implementation of smoke-free hospitality industry legislation in the Netherlands, possibly because most Dutch smokers do not feel negatively judged when smoking outside.

Van der Heiden, S.; Gebhardt, W.A.; Willemsen, M.C.; Nagelhout, G.E.; Dijkstra, A., "Behavioural and psychological responses of lower educated smokers to the smoke-free legislation in Dutch hospitality venues: a qualitative study," Psychology & Health [Epub ahead of print], August 9, 2012.

Conclusion: Theories of self-awareness and social in- and exclusion were useful in understanding consequences of a HV smoking ban on continuing smokers. Four different types of responses were identified, i.e. (1) actively trying to quit, (2) socially conscious smoking, (3) feeling victimised and (4) rejecting the norm. Implications for future smoke-free legislation are discussed.

de Korte-de Boer, D.; Kotz, D.; Viechtbauer, W.; van Haren, E.; Grommen, D.; de Munter, M.; Coenen, H.; Gorgels, A.P.; van Schayck, O.C., "Effect of smoke-free legislation on the incidence of sudden circulatory arrest in the Netherlands," Heart 98(13): 995-999, July 2012.

After introduction of a nationwide workplace smoking ban in 2004, a significant decrease in the incidence of out-of-hospital SCA was seen in South Limburg. Poor enforcement of the 2008 hospitality sector ban may account for the fact that no further decrease in the incidence of SCA was seen at this time.

Half of cafes still allow smoking
DutchNews.nl - June 19, 2012

Nearly half of Dutch cafes and bars still allow customers to smoke on their premises, according to figures released on Tuesday by the food safety authority NVWA. … In 942 cases they found the smoking ban was being flouted. Fines were imposed in 762 cases. The other cafes and bars were given a written warning and can ...

Clean Air Nederland in court over smoking ban in cafes
DutchNews.nl - March 30, 2012

Anti-smoking group Clean Air Nederland is taking the Dutch state to court on Friday in an effort to enforce a ban on smoking in all bars and cafes.

Verdonk-Kleinjan, W.M.I.; Rijswijk, P.C.P.; Candel, M.J.J.M.; de Vries, H., "Agreement between self-reports and on-site inspections of compliance with a workplace smoking ban," Nicotine and Tobacco Research [Epub ahead of print], January 23, 2012.

The authors of this Dutch study found that self-reports on clean indoor air workplace compliance were largely valid. They stated, "For agencies enforcing the workplace smoking ban, these results indicate that a strategy to identify noncompliance among responding companies might be useful. Moreover, such a strategy reduces the burden of inspecting among complying companies. The results indicate a slight overestimation of compliance. Concerning the predictive values, we found most variance among the self-reported noncompliance: 55.2 percent of those reporting noncompliance did in fact comply."

Dutch government backtracks on anti-smoking
Newsday - December 14, 2011

... bucking the trend in nearly every other developed country. Last year it exempted some bars from a smoking ban and now it has unveiled plans to...

LETTER: Can the Dutch Government really be abandoning smokers to their fate?
The Lancet, 2011-12-09
Deborah Arnott a, Florence Berteletti b, John Britton c, Antonella Cardone d, Luke Clancy e, Lorraine Craig f, Geoffrey

The Government of the Netherlands has announced that it is all but closing down its tobacco control operations. ...

Weak Dutch tobacco controls will cost lives: experts
Reuters - December 9, 2011

Smoking causes lung cancer, which is often fatal, and other chronic ... The World Health Organisation (WHO) predicts that tobacco will kill nearly 6 million ...

Dutch health minister is quizzed about “intensive” contact with tobacco industry
BMJ 2011; 343:d7137 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d7137 (Published 3 November 2011)
British Medical Journal, 2011-11-03
Tony Sheldon

The Dutch health minister Edith Schippers has come under pressure from MPs, doctors, and anti-smoking groups to clarify her contacts with the tobacco industry after a critical television documentary entitled Minister of Tobacco. ...

Three quarters of Dutch are non-smokers
Radio Netherlands - August 12, 2011

Smoking has become a minority activity in the Netherlands. Figures released by the Stivoro tobacco expertise centre on Friday revealed that 24.3 percent of ...

Fines for breaking smoking ban doubled
DutchNews.nl - July 6, 2011

Government inspectors said last month that 42% of bars, cafes and clubs which should ban smoking have put ashtrays back on tables. Last year, the government lifted the ban on smoking in smaller bars and cafes without personnel. ...

Ashtrays back in 52% of cafes and clubs
DutchNews.nl (nl), 2011-07-01

Ashtrays are back on tables and bars in 41% of bars and clubs where smoking is illegal, according to the latest health and safety inspectors report. ...

Dutch smokers less aware of danger of smoke to others
DutchNews.nl - March 29, 2011

Only 61% of the Dutch agree that second hand smoke is dangerous to non-smokers, compared with 96% of the French and 89% of Germans, according to new research by tobacco control group ITC Project. And only 9% of Dutch smokers think about the harm they ...

Government urged to get tough on bars which break smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - January 19, 2011

A majority of MPs want the government to step up checks on bars and cafes to make sure they comply with the nationwide smoking ban, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.

The ban, which came into effect in July 2008, is being debated in parliament later on Tuesday.

The new government has already lifted the ban for cafes smaller than 70 m2 with no personnel. But research indicates around half of the country's bars, cafes and night clubs now allow smoking. ...

Minister to do 'all she can' to enforce smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - January 19, 2011

Health minister Edith Schippers is to do 'all she can' to make sure larger bars and cafes comply with the ban on smoking, she told MPs on Wednesday.

One option is to increase the fines, which currently vary between €300 and €2,400, the minister said.

The new government has already lifted the ban for cafes smaller than 70 m2 with no personnel.

But research indicates around half of the country's bars, cafes and night clubs now allow smoking. And MPs have called on the minister to clamp down on law breaking.

Schippers said she is not in favour of making breaking the ban a criminal offence and involving the police because it would be too expensive and generate too much resentment within the industry ...

Anti-smoking lobby publishes list of cafes breaking the law
DutchNews.nl - January 11, 2011

Anti-smoking group Clean Air Nederland is to publish a list of cafes and bars which still allow smoking, based on reports by consumers.

The list will also be accessible to health and safety inspectors who are charged with making sure the ban on smoking is not broken, Clean Air Nederland director Willem van den Oetelaar told news agency ANP.

The inspectorate has already admitted around half of the country's bars, cafes and discos allow smoking. The ban was introduced in July 2008. ...

The Population Impact of Smoke-free Workplace and Hospitality Industry Legislation on Smoking Behaviour. Findings From a National Population Survey.
Nagelhout, G.E.; Willemsen, M.C.; De Vries, H.
Addiction. 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03247.x [doi]. October 21, 2010, [Epub ahead of print].

Small café owners plan to sue state over smoking ban
DutchNews.nl (nl), 2010-11-11

The foundation representing small café owners in their fight against the ban on smoking is to take legal action against the state now the ban has been lifted.

‘The damage that these cafes have suffered over the past few years is enormous,’ spokesman Jaap Brandigt told news agency ANP. ‘That is why we have asked our lawyers to prepare a claim.’ ...

Smoking ban lifted in small cafes with no staff
DutchNews.nl (nl), 2010-11-03

The smoking ban in small cafes and bars and have no staff is to be lifted and 'in practice that means people can smoke in them again from today', a health ministry spokesman told news website nu.nl. …

Dutch smoking ban reversed for small bars, cafes
The State, November 3, 2010

The new Dutch government has scrapped a smoking ban for small bars and cafes, reversing a public health measure introduced two years ago by the previous administration. …

Dutch govt exempts small bars from smoking ban - Yahoo! News
Agence France Presse (AFP) (fr), 2010-11-03

The Dutch government said Wednesday it would exempt bars smaller than 70 square metres (753 square feet), with no staff other than the owner, from a smoking ban introduced in July 2008.

"The exemption applies only for small bars with no personnel," a health ministry statement said.

"Every bar will have to put up a sign to alert customers whether or not it is a smoking establishment. …

Catering union to go to court over plan to lift smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - October 26, 2010

Catering workers union FNV Horeca says it will go to court to prevent the new government scrapping the smoking ban in small cafes and bars.

The coalition has pledged to lift the ban in cafes smaller than 70 m2 following several court cases brought by bar owners who employ no staff. The ban was brought in to protect staff from second hand smoke.

But the union says making an exception for all small bars will expose thousands of workers to smoke. In addition, it is unacceptable to differentiate between workers by not giving them all the same protection, the union said in a statement ...

Anti tobacco lobby to fight change in smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - October 1, 2010

... Clean Air Nederland (CAN) will go to court if the new right-wing government sticks to its plan to lift the smoking ban on small cafés, reports news agency ...

Small cafes welcome end to smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - September 29, 2010

Small cafes have welcomed the news that the new government is set to ditch the ban on smoking in bars with no staff. 'I had an extra cigarette to celebrate ...

Small pubs welcome lifting of Dutch smoking ban
Radio Netherlands - September 29, 2010

Owners of small pubs in the Netherlands have welcomed the lifting of a smoking ban imposed on the hospitality industry in 2008. The partial scrapping of the ...

Dutch Bars Do Not Adhere to the Two-year-old Smoking Ban
MedIndia - July 1, 2010

Close to fifty percent of the Netherlands' 5,630 bars openly flout the two-year-old smoking ban, as they are not willing to say 'No" to clients who wish to smoke.

"If I prevent people smoking in my bar, it would mean bankruptcy for sure," Gerhard Sannes, owner of De Kachel (The Stove) bar in Groningen in the north east of the country told AFP. ...

Liberal MPs act to scrap smoking ban in small bars
DutchNews.nl - June 28, 2010

The new 31-strong Liberal MP grouping is planning to introduce its own legislation to abolish the smoking ban for small cafes and bars.

'The smoking ban was introduced because Europe wants to protect workers against smoke. But you do not have to protect bar owners if they have no staff,' MP Halbe Zijlstra said.

The anti-Islam PVV and Socialist party back the proposal, meaning it can count on the support of 71 out of 150 MPs.

Ten days ago, the ban on smoking in small bars was reinstated after a court ruling.

Smoking in small cafes banned again
DutchNews.nl - June 17, 2010

Cafe smoking ban backed by most
DutchNews.nl - May 27, 2010

Some 72% of the population back the ban on smoking in cafes and bars, a 10% increase in support since February 2007, before the ban was introduced, ...

Dutch minister admits smoking ban is partial failure
Radio Netherlands (nl), 2010-05-05

Small bars in the Netherlands can continue to ignore the smoking ban, as Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink says he will not take new measures to enforce it. A ministry spokesperson told the daily NRC Handelsblad that there is "no need to change current policy".

The smoking ban, aimed at protecting employees' health, came into force in July 2008. Small bars, which are often unable to create the required separate zones for smokers and non-smokers, increasingly allow their clients to smoke indoors. . . .

Bars odd-one out Figures collected by opinion pollster Intraval show that 41 percent of bar owners are flaunting the no-smoking law, and the percentage is increasing steadily. Bars are the exception, as hotels, fast food shops, restaurants and sports clubs are all obeying the rules. ...

No extra steps to tighten up smoking ban, says minister
DutchNews.nl - May 4, 2010

Health minister Ab Klink is not planning to take any additional measures to makes sure cafes and bars comply with the ban on smoking, even though an estimated 41% of bar owners now allow smoking on their premises, the NRC reported on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the ministry said there is no reason to bring in 'new policy' to shore up the ban which is being increasingly ignored.

Only 35% of bars now have a sign saying they are smoke-free, compared with 54% in February, Bert Bieleman of research bureau Intraval told the paper. ...

No exceptions to smoking ban, Dutch court says
Radio Netherlands - February 23, 2010

An exemption for small pubs from the public smoking ban has been quashed by the Dutch Supreme Court. Ruling in an appeal case, the court argues that the smoking ban - introduced in bars, cafés and restaurants in July 2008 - should also apply to owner-run pubs and cafes without personnel.

Legal experts say the Supreme Court decision probably means that one-man businesses will no longer be exempt from the smoking ban. Health Minister Ab Klink had temporarily tolerated the exemption for these smaller premises, pending the Supreme Court ruling. ...

Smoking ban ignored in 25% of bars
DutchNews.nl - January 25, 2010

Some 25% of cafes and bars with more than one member of staff are still allowing people to smoke inside despite the official ban, according to government inspectors.

The ban on smoking in cafes without personnel has been more or less abandoned following a string of court cases and health minister Ab Klink is working on plans to close a loophole in the law.

Inspectors carried out over 11,000 visits to cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels between July and December and handed out 440 cautions and fines.

Smoking ban may apply to small cafes
DutchNews.nl - January 5, 2010

The smoking ban in cafes and bars may well apply to the country's 8,000 or so small cafes with no staff, according to one of the country's top legal officials, news agency ANP reports on Tuesday.

The advocate general on Tuesday published his recommendations to the high court, which is due to rule on whether the ban should apply to small bars at the end of March, ANP said.

Last year two lower courts ruled in favour of cafes in Groningen and Den Bosch, which had refused to comply with the ban.

The ban on smoking was introduced in July 2008 to protect staff from the effect of passive smoking. Bigger bars are free to set up smoking areas, as long as drinks are not served in them. ...

Smoking ban flouted in nearly half small cafes
DutchNews.nl - October 22, 2009

The smoking ban is being ignored in almost half of the country's smallest bars and cafes, according research by the food safety authority VWA.

Before the courts ruled small cafés without staff were not covered by the ban only 15% still allowed smoking.

The inspectors checked 6,479 bars, cafes and restaurants between July and October and handed out 184 fines.

In total, some 27% of bars and cafes still allow smoking, the inspectors said. This is up 10 percentage points on the previous figures. One in 10 has set up a sealed-off area for smokers. ...

Dutch govt to change smoking law after court defeat
Agence France Presse (AFP) (fr), 2009-09-11

The Dutch government vowed Friday to change the law to keep bars smoke free after it suffered two successive defeats in court against bar owners challenging a smoking ban.
A cabinet statement said the government would introduce changes to legislation in order to make sure that "a uniform obligation" applied to all.

Dutch bar owners won two victories earlier this year in their fight against a smoking ban on their premises.

Two different courts found that the law, aimed at protecting staff from second-hand smoke inhalation, unfairly discriminated against small, one-man operations ...

The cabinet said the planned changes would make allowances for the introduction of "innovative air sytstems" if they could be proven effective enough to be an alternative to a dedicated smoking area in small bars. ...

Ventilation systems possible 'solution' to smoking ban
The health minister will present a research proposal during Friday’s cabinet meeting to investigate how ventilation systems could be used by the hospitality industry.
Expatica Netherlands - September 9, 2009

The Hague -- Hotels, restaurants and bars may return to pre-ban smoking policies depending on a proposed study of ventilation systems, reports the ANP and nu.nl.

Health minister Ab Klink will present the research proposal during Friday’s cabinet meeting.

If the study moves forward, policy makers could discern if ventilation systems would properly remove smoke -- and with it the danger of second-hand smoke -- from a cafe or bar.

Klink may then decide businesses with adequate ventilation systems would not be required to create separate smoking rooms. In other words, smoking would be allowed throughout the premises.

The minister announced two months ago that he intended to "repair" the current legislation governing smoking in hotels, restaurants and bars.

The government has claimed the aim of the legislation is to protect employees from the dangers of second-hand smoke inhalation; however, it has remained a controversial law in the Netherlands. ...

Smoking ban abandoned in small cafes
DutchNews.nl - July 8, 2009

Health and safety inspectors will no longer check if small bars and cafes are observing the smoking ban, health minister Ab Klink said on Wednesday.


The decision follows a second court ruling which said the ban did not apply to bars without personnel.

But cafes with staff will continue to face checks to make sure the ban on smoking is being upheld, Klink said.

The minister is currently working on amendments to the smoking ban to make sure all cafes and bars have a smoke-free area, Nos tv reported. ...

Dutch bar owners win new victory in fight against smoking ban
Agence France Presse (AFP) (fr), 2009-07-03

Dutch bar owners won a new victory in their fight against a smoking ban on their premises when an appeal court cleared two of them of breaking the law and quashed a 1,200 euro fine.

"The law contains no formal obligation for landlords of cafes, restaurants and hotels without staff to implement a smoking ban," the appeal court at Leeuwarden in the northern Netherlands said in a statement.

It overturned the verdict handed down in a lower court against the pair from Groningen who became the first to be prosecuted following the introduction of the nationwide ban a year ago.

In May the appeals court of Den Bosch, in the southern Netherlands, upheld the acquittal of the two owners of the Victoria cafe in Breda, near the Belgian border.

"The court finds that the (ban) is partly non-binding, as it lacks legal grounding" regarding establishments with no staff, said a court statement.

Smoking law to be tightened up
DutchNews.nl - July 6, 2009

On Friday, the Leeuwarden appeal court ruled small cafe De Kachel did not have stop people smoking inside because the law does not ban smoking as such. ...S

Tobacco lobby helps bars fight smoking ban
DutchNews.nl - June 22, 2009

The tobacco industry is helping small cafes and bars fight the ban on smoking introduced last July, according to research by the NRC newspaper. ...

Why only the Dutch resist the smoking ban
NRC International - May 29, 2009

It has been almost a year since smoking was banned from bars and restaurants in the Netherlands. During that time a lot of unrest was created by the lingering uncertainty over the interpretation of the law. Rumours that enforcement would be lax pending further legislation, and comments by some opposition parties that the law should be scrapped altogether only added to the confusion.

Bar and restaurant owners who abided by the smoking ban now worry that it might be reversed. While a majority of the population is quite happy with the smoking ban and doesn't want to go back.

How did it come to this? ...

Small Dutch bars cannot be held to smoking ban: appeals court
AFP, May 12, 2009

THE HAGUE (AFP) — A Dutch appeals court ruled Tuesday that small bars with no staff except their owners are exempt from a national smoking ban introduced for the hospitality industry last July.

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

"The court finds that the (ban) is partly non-binding, as it lacks legal grounding" regarding establishments with no staff, said a court statement.

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

Smoking ban not for small bars
Straits Times - May 12, 2009

THE HAGUE - A DUTCH appeals court ruled on Tuesday that small bars with no staff except their owners are exempt from a national smoking ban introduced for the hospitality industry last July.
The appeals court of Den Bosch, in the southern Netherlands, found two owners of the Victoria cafe in Breda, near the Belgian border, not guilty of having contravened the ban.

'The court finds that the (ban) is partly non-binding, as it lacks legal grounding' regarding establishments with no staff, said a court statement. ...

Dutch smoking ban is up in the air
NRC International - May 12, 2009

The appeals court in Den Bosch has ruled in favour of the owners of a Breda cafe who defied a national smoking ban, effectively repealing the smoking ban for small bars and cafes. ...

Group Slams Smoking Ban
Radio Netherlands Worldwide, December 31, 2008

The pressure group, Clean Air Netherlands, says the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants has so far been a failure. It maintains a majority of bars are not observing the new legislation because the authorities are not enforcing it strictly enough. ...

Dutch smoking ban goes into force
BBC News, July 1, 2008

A tobacco smoking ban has come into effect in cafes, bars and restaurants in the Netherlands.

The country is following a growing trend across Europe and the world of bans on smoking in public places.

Pro-smoking lobbyists say the ban will lead to a drop in business, but others say any losses will be made up by non-smokers going out more.

Patrons of cannabis cafes will still be allowed to smoke marijuana as long as it is not mixed with tobacco.

Possession of cannabis is illegal in the Netherlands, but holders of small amounts are not prosecuted. Smoking cannabis is permitted in licensed cafes. ...

Total Smoking ban for Schipol in 2008
DutchNews.nl, November 9, 2008

The squeeze on smokers gets a little tighter on January 1 when Amsterdam's Schiphol airport brings in a total smoking ban.

No cigarettes, pipes or cigars will be allowed to be smoked anywhere, including cafes and restaurants, once passengers are through passport control.

New Rules on Smoking and Healthcare
Expatica.com, January 5, 2004

AMSTERDAM – Important legal changes and price rises come into force in the Netherlands in 2004, affecting a range of issues from your healthcare package, smoking at work and in trains, to mortgage tax relief.

Most of the new regulations herald higher costs for the consumer and one of the few positive aspects will be that employers will once again be able to give their staff a tax-free Christmas present, or kerstpakket, in December.

Smoking rules

Non-smokers or people wishing to "kick the butt" in 2004 will be pleased with the implementation of the new anti-smoking law, or rookvrijewet, which came into force on 1 January. Committed smokers, in contrast, will be hard put upon.

The new anti-smoking law is designed to protect non-smokers from the fumes and smoke produced by the 25-30 percent of the Dutch population who smoke cigarettes, cigars or pipes.

From January, everyone has the legal right to a "smoke-free workplace", according to the Dutch government, with the exception of those who work in specialist tobacco shops and staff involved in international and foreign public transport. ...