- Title: NETHERLANDS: Bar owners take Dutch government to court over smoking ban
- Date: 2nd July 2008
- Summary: (EU) LAREN, THE NETHERLANDS (JUNE 26, 2008) (REUTERS) TON WURTZ, SPOKESMAN OF FOUNDATION "SAVE THE SMALL BARS", LIGHTING HIS CIGAR TON WURTZ EXHALING
- Embargoed: 17th July 2008 13:00
- Location: Netherlands
- Country: Netherlands
- Topics: Health,Industry
- Reuters ID: LVA2IEUWON59K00N6PGF2PMD9K8Y
- Story Text: Four hundred small bar owners have gone to court arguing the government's new smoking ban discriminates against them The Netherlands' new smoking ban, introduced in bars and restaurants on Tuesday (July 1) is being challenged in court.
Several hundred small bar owners gathered outside the Palace of Justice claiming the new law discriminates against their businesses.
One of them, Henk van der Put, said the little pubs wanted to be excluded from the ban as 95 percent of their customers smoked.
Unlike some countries which have imposed a total ban on all establishments serving food and drink the Dutch law does allow for larger places to set up a separate smoking section.
But owners of small bars say they simply don't have the room and fear they will lose their smoking customers to bigger bars. Foundation "Save the Small Bar" is representing 400 small bar owners in the court.
One of the group's founders, Ton Wurtz, is himself a passionate smoker.
He says he's studied the effect of smoking bans on bars in Germany, Britain and Ireland where he says many places have had to shut down as a direct result of the law.
The Dutch government says it wants to protect people working in the catering industry, some of whom are exposed to cigarette smoke every day of their working lives, whereas customers can choose whether or not to be in the vicinity of a smoker. Small bar owners argue they don't have any employees and most of their customers smoke.
Dennis Bosma, manager of Cafe de Gaeper, a traditional Dutch brown cafe in Amsterdam, does not have enough space to build a smokers room either.
"We have to send the people outside" he said.
But in winter that will be tougher for smokers and small bar owners.
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