Interesting news from the Netherlands where reports suggest that the ban on smoking will be lifted in small bars that are run and therefore staffed by one-man businesses. According to Radio Netherlands:
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 measure was announced on Tuesday.
The incoming right-wing government is responding to persistent complaints from one-man businesses who argued that the smoking ban was meant to guarantee staff a smoke-free working environment. Since they had no employees, their small pubs didn't need the smoking ban, the owners claimed. The ban will remain in force, however, for pubs, restaurants and the like which are run with personnel.
Secretary Wiel Maessen of the 1250 small pubs' umbrella group KHO said "I lit an extra cigarette when I heard the news." He added that despite his satisfaction on behalf of his members, the fight would not be over until the ban was lifted for the entire sector.
Ton Wurtz, who runs the Dutch smokers’ group Stichting Rokersbelangen and has been working with Wiel Maessen, adds a word of caution, however, pointing out in an email to me that the political situation in the Netherlands remains unsettled and the country could face a new election very soon.
In February 2006, a few days after MPs voted for a smoking ban in England, Ton and his colleague Dick Engel attended the Forest Awards at the Groucho Club in Soho.
According to our press release:
Forest’s ‘International Award’ went to Dick Engel and Ton Wurtz of the Dutch smokers’ lobby group Stichting Rokersbelangen who flew in from Amsterdam to accept their prize.
Other award winners that year included David Hockney, inventor Trevor Baylis, Philip Davies MP, the Institute of Ideas’ Claire Fox, artist Maggi Hambling, and the then Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt:
In the face of fierce competition, said Forest, ‘Killjoy of the Year’ was won by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt. “Thanks to Nanny Hewitt," said director Simon Clark, "not only will it be a crime to smoke in any indoor public place, but if we wanted to set up a private club run by smokers for smokers, that would illegal too! So much for civil liberties.”
Jeremy Clarkson, it may interest you to know, was declared 'Rat of the Year' "for supporting a ban on smoking in all public places because it will allegedly help him give up". The award, Forest announced, had been made with some regret because Clarkson had previously been something of a hero. “Unfortunately, the rat has left the sinking ship.”