News of: Thursday, November 04 2010,

Smoking ban in pubs in the Netherlands partially lifted

The Dutch government has decided yesterday that the smoking ban will no longer apply in small pubs that have no staff.

The measure only applies to small bars, where small means less than 70 square meter (about 750 sq.ft).
The reason given for this is that small pubs have no space to create a separate smoking room, and therefore suffer from unfair comptetition from larger pubs.

The condition that the pub must have no staff has to do with the fact that the smoking ban is meant to protect employees in the working place. Pubs that are run by their owners have no employees, hence the smoking ban does not apply.

Needless to say, the measure will lead to 'creative' solutions. Pubs could make their surface smaller by closing off a part of it.
A trick to circumvent the employees condition is to make employees co-owners of the pub.

Small pubs with employees have already complained that the fact that pubs without employees can allow smoking, means that they will suffer from unfair competition.

Anti-smoking group Clean Air Nederland has started an online protest against the measure.