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Holland and tobacco: 500 years together
January 28, 2008
New round of tobacco war in the Netherlands: parliament toughens up the laws, but smokers do not give up without fight. The party of smokers demands from the authorities to revoke smoking ban in public places. 30% of Dutchmen, including 31% of men and 25% of women are cigarettes smokers. One and a half thousand smoked cigarettes account for one head per year. Though, Dutchmen yield to inveterate smokers from the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, the government of the Netherlands proceeds with intensifying of revolution against tobacco smoking.
Since 2004 smoking ban in public places and in transport has been put into force. Next summer another law, regulating the rights of smokers in public caterings, will be introduced. According to the new law, the consideration of which is held in Dutch parliament, since July 2008 cigarettes smoking in restaurants and bars will be allowed only in isolated rooms, and there will be no entrance to smoking rooms for the personnel. Some Dutchmen take the law as just another attack on traditional liberal system, but the officials, responsible for the health of the nation, blame the government for sluggishness. But not all Dutchmen welcome such care of their government. Recently Partij tegen Bettuteling (Party against paternalism) known also as Party of smokers held the protest meeting near the walls of The Binnenhof in The Hague.
The leaders of Dutch smokers demand from the minister of health ‘to stop paternalism and to revoke smoking ban in public caterings’. Huge rolls of petitions with thousands of signs from Dutchmen were spread out along The Hague roadways round the parliamentary palace. I think that such government threatens all of us, they all meddles with our private lives. I know that I take a risk of my life, but it is my personal life! said one activist pf the party, smoking a cigarette. He makes no secret of the fact that he smokes three cigarettes packs per day, but he believes entering the bar to spend some time with the owner of the bar, who is also a smoker, he has the right to do it, and it makes no sense to forbid smoking in bars.
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