News of: Thursday, May 04 2006,

Citizen's initiative about smoke free restaurants and bars

The non-smokers association Clean Air Nederland has succeeded in collecting 56,000 signatures for a citizens' initiative about banning smoking in restaurants and bars.

With a minimum of 40,000 signatures any group can force the Dutch parliament to put a subject on the agenda, thus forcing it to speak about the subject.
The citizens' initiative is a new possibility since May 1 of this year.

Smoking is already (officially) banned from the workplace in the Netherlands, but restaurants, bars and clubs were exempted, because a prohibition would effectively mean that the guests can also not smoke, and parliament found this to be an undesirable effect.
Clean Air Nederland is now attempting to reverse the exception.

It is unclear whether the initiative will succeed. Only subjects that have not been voted on for the past 2 years, can be put on the agenda of parliament this way. And only 6 weeks ago there was a voto on a new tobacco law.