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 rightwing 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.
All of which means that the Netherlands, like most other European countries, have rejected a total ban to avoid the devastating economic effects seen in the UK and Ireland. Which begs the question, why doesn't the UK's new liberal, regulation-hating, freedom-loving, pro-business government not even consider the possibility of the doing the same?