A majority of Dutch bars return the ashtrays.

Thanks to the sterling efforts of my colleague at TICAP Wiel Maessen you can smoke in a Dutch bar. Although the law was amended in November to exempt only family run establishments, it seems the free market has taken over and 52% of them allow smoking. This backs up a report where the Dutch Food Safety Authority (nVWA) in December found that “In June, inspectors found smoking in 28% of the bars they visited. That has now increased to 51%.”

There is an appetite for smoking bars in the Netherlands,  I think ASH are quite wrong to say that there is not one here.

“Ashtrays have made a return in 41 per cent of Dutch bars and clubs where tobacco smoking is illegal, according to a Dutch News.nl story quoting the latest health and safety inspectors’ report.

Two years ago, 17 per cent of cafés and bars had ashtrays available in defiance of the ban, introduced in July 2008.

Now, taking small bars where the ban has been lifted into account, about 52 per cent of bars, cafés and discos no longer ban tobacco smoking, the inspectors say.

In addition, 22 per cent of cafés and clubs now have a separate tobacco smoking room.

Inspectors handed out 1,108 fines for breaking the ban in the first three months of this year.

The fine for a first-time offence is €300.”



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3 Responses to A majority of Dutch bars return the ashtrays.

  1. Junican says:

    I wonder how many of them are paying the fine?

  2. Jonathan Bagley says:

    ASH will use such a high figure as an argument against relaxing the ban. Non smokers who like a smoke-free atmossphere will always say they agree with the ban because they are concerned that any relaxation will drastically reduce their choice of venues. It’s the easiest route to take. Were dogs to banned, and I was caught in a bad mood, I might be tempted to agree there should be no relaxation of the dog ban; just to save thinking about the consequences of allowing dogs in certain areas. People, apart from a small number of neurotics, know the health risk from passive smoking is negligible compared with other risks to which they happily expose themselves. Today’s example is ibuprofen. Tomorrow there will be another. The public ignore them.
    It is very interesting that the free market figure is 52% and I admire the Dutch for their refusal to accept their ban. On the one hand, the fact that 52% optimises the total profit for the pub and cafe sector shows how much money is being lost and how many social lives are destroyed. On the other hand it shows that, without any other restrictions, the number of non smoking venues would be halved. Maybe a figure nearer 30% would be desirable? Or, maybe not?

    would have been desirable? Or, perhaps not?

    • daveatherton says:

      Jonathan, I hope you are well. Just a quick point, the amendment in the Netherlands only covered owner/family run establishments, so the implication is that many bars with employees are breaking the law with impunity.

      I am sure the figure of 52% would rise probably to 66%-75% in my opinion.

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