Smoking ban in Groningen, NL
© Wikimedia Commons/Oxfordian Kissuth
The city of Groningen is working on banning smoking in open areas and on the street in certain places in the city. The municipality's Management and Traffic Committee discussed this ban on Wednesday evening, AD reports.

The city wants to change its General Local Regulation to declare parts of the public space smoke-free. The initiative for declaring smoke-free areas will lie with institutions in the city, and not the municipality itself. For example, a hospital can submit a request to the municipality to ban smoking on the square in front of its entrance. The municipality can then, on the basis of the adapted General Local Regulation, prohibit smoking on that spot.

The enforcement of the smoking ban will also be primarily the institution's responsibility. But if a smoker lights a cigarette in a smoke-free area and refuses to leave, the police can be called in. What penalty the smoker will face, is not yet clear.

In order to not violate the Tobacco Act, which allows smoking in open air, the municipality plans to ban all types of smoke. This also includes scooters, cars and barbecues. The municipality is taking into account that it may face legal action if a smoker goes to court to challenge the municipal decree by appealing to the Tobacco Act.

If the committee and the municipal council approves this plan, the first smoking ban in open air can in theory be implemented by the end of this month, according to the newspaper.

Rotterdam also recently announced that it wants to ban smoking on certain streets.