The government blinked!

It seems that in the saga of the Dutch smoking ban (see here and links therein) will end with the slaying of the monster. Today Minister of Health Ab Klink announced a liberalization of the smoking ban for small cafe’s, bars and restaurants (NL).

Ventilation systems should make smoking in small cafés possible again. That is the solution minister of Health Ab Klink (CDA) has thought of to break the impasse obver the smoking ban. Klink is investigating the solution, well informed sources in The Hague report.

If ventilation systems work as expected, a separate smoking room will no longer be necessary.

Elsevier commentator Gertjan van Schoonhoven calls it as he sees it: The ‘liberalization’ is just the end of the smoking ban (NL). In all likelihood he is right. If small bars are allowed to have smoking customers (if they have sufficient ventilation) then why not larger bars? Or discotheques? IF minister Klink is planning on holding on to the ban in all other cases, he leaves this government wide open to more suits on grounds of discrimination.

Be that as it may, the fact remains that in a staring contest between government and the population, the government blinked. The people win. The smoking ban is dead.

The big question that now remains: How will the EU react?

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