Do we ever get a complete smoking ban?
When alcohol was banned in the United States in the 1930s, locations called "Speakeasy" suddenly surfaced. These were illegal cafes where alcohol was served to guests. If an increasing number of mayors in Dutch municipalities are to blame, citizens will no longer be allowed to smoke outside in public areas. Is this legally possible and will it lead to a smoke-free society?
The Netherlands is smoke-free
Groningen has the ambition to become the first smoke-free city in the Netherlands. They want to use a General Local Regulation. This can be a problem, because an APV is about safety. Smoking is more a matter of health. That is why more and more mayors argue in favor of using the Environmental Act that will come into force in 2021. This law offers more options for banning smoking on the street. In addition to Groningen, there are also increasing ambitions in Amstelveen and Rotterdam to ban smoking around public buildings and locations such as hospitals.
Where are you allowed to smoke?
The intention is to only allow smoking in private locations and private grounds. Think at home, in the car and maybe in your backyard as long as the smoke doesn't disturb the neighbors. This can affect children of smokers, or the immediate environment. Quitting is of course better, there are already plenty of ways to quit smoking such as (temporarily) switching to e-cigarettes.
Can vapors still be used?
The intentions of politicians usually refer to smoking tobacco. This makes sense because cigarette smoke not only stinks, it also contains thousands of harmful substances that are transferable. The effects of e-cigarette vaping have not been conclusively proven, both in a positive and negative sense. The consequences for the environment appear to be minimal or even completely harmless. For vapers it is a development to keep an eye on, will they also have to open a “Speakeasy” for vaping?