Dutch pub hit with first smoking ban fine

Feb. 20, 2009 at 2:32 PM
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GRONINGEN, Netherlands, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A pub in the Dutch city of Groningen has become the first to be convicted and fined under the Netherlands' new smoking ban law, a lawyer says.

Attorney Manuel Bloch, who represents the De Kachel pub, said he would appeal the conviction and fine of more than $1,500 against the bar, Radio Netherlands said Friday.

Bloch alleges the ban on smoking in Dutch bars, cafes and restaurants is in direct violation of the country's Tobacco Act. The lawyer also claims Health Minister Ab Klink does not have the authority to implement such directives.

De Kachel co-owner Jeroen Sannes is questioning whether he could possibly relocate his pub to a location where he can create a legal separate smoking room for customers.

"How does he think we are going to finance such a move," Sannes said, referring to the suggestion made by the presiding judge in his ban violation case.

Radio Netherlands said Sannes' establishment received five warnings before being charged and convicted for a smoking violation.

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