Date: September 2019
Author: Inspector Z

Smoke lounges are forbidden in The Netherlands effective immediately. The highest court in The Netherlands just ruled that smoke lounges in restaurants and bars are prohibited effective immediately. The anti-smoke organization ‘clean air now’ won the appeal.

Since July 2008, it’s prohibited to smoke in bars, hotels, and restaurants. But, there was an exemption. If the place had a separate smoke lounge, smoking was allowed there. It was illegal for staff to work in smoke lounges. The new secretary of state Paul Blokhuis, from the right-wing, very conservative and religious Christen Democraten launched his ‘prevention agreement’ a few months ago. In that agreement, which was written without the participation of the tobacco industry as they were not welcome at the table, the smoke lounge exemption would be killed in July 2022.

Cigar Lounges at tobacconist shops

For now, cigar lounges in cigar shops are still exempted. But the Food & Beverage organization Koninklijke Horeca Nederland said that all smoke lounges should be included in the ban. He said that “it is hard to cope that all our members have to close their lounges, but that smoke lounges in the parliament building remain”. Clean Air now is now targeting outdoor terraces as well, as they want a completely smoke free generation and country.

The Koninklijke Horeca Nederland is considering lawsuits against the government. This decision, which is a breach of the prevention agreement, will be costly for hotels, bars, and restaurants with smoke lounges. As mentioned before, the agreement was made with a 2022 end date for smoke lounges. The KHN is very unhappy with the sudden change of heart of secretary of state Paul Blokhuis.

Smokers are becoming second-grade citizens and civil rights are in danger. The legislation goes too far, that’s what Professor Simon Chapman, a well known anti-smoke activist from Australia, said recently as well. Today’s decision of the Dutch High Court proves that point again.

Ministry of Cigars Smoke lounges forbidden in The Netherlands
The lounge of Van Lookeren in Amsterdam
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