The Dutch supreme court ruled on Friday morning that smoking areas in cafés, restaurants and discos must be closed immediately.
In the Netherlands, a smoking ban has been in force in the hospitality industry since 1 July 2008. Smokers could, however, go to closed smoking areas: often small, sectioned-off parts of the restaurant, bar, or club with powerful extractor fans. The CAN (Clean Air Netherlands) pressure group filed a lawsuit against the State, hoping to also ban those smoking areas.
The Ministry of Health had already made an agreement with the hotel and catering industry that smoking areas would be prohibited from 1 July 2022. Clean Air Nederland, however, thought that that deadline was too long, and went to court.
The court in The Hague ruled in favor of CAN in February, but the State appealed to the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court decided on Friday morning that the ban on smoking rooms should take effect immediately.
That is a harsh decision for many hospitality entrepreneurs. There are still around 6,000 to 7,000 smoking areas in the Netherlands. Following the 2008 smoking ban, a lot has been invested in these smoking rooms, with each entrepreneurs having invested approximately 12.500 euros in their establishments.