Forget about lighting up in a public place in the Netherlands. From today, tobacco is banned. Small family cafes and restaurants fear they won’t be able to afford expensive modifications which larger bars can afford to install to get around the ban.
Sixty percent of landlords say they are thinking about selling up and leaving the trade.
“A little bar in Holland has a social function, and what they are doing is ripping that out of society by this stupid law,” said one.
Many nations have banned smoking but relatively few have enforced it in bars and restaurants yet. But it is a rare law without loopholes. Smokers of cannabis can still puff away in one of the country’s famous coffee shops.
“The ban on tobacco smoke is going to mean exactly what it means. They are not allowed to smoke tobacco inside the coffee shop. The good news is that they can continue to smoke cannabis in the coffee shops and anywhere else it is allowed,” said one coffeeshop owner.
While the ban may have stimulated bar sales, with a near 20 percent jump of leases up for grabs in a month, one estimate says the ban will produce 800,000 new customers, happy to return to bars and restaurants now that the smokers have been forced out.