Sunday, June 8, 2008

Smoking Legislation in Belgium

On 1 January 2006 smoking was prohibited in most workplaces under a 2005 Royal Decree, although separate smoking rooms can be provided. On 1st January 2007, smoking was prohibited in restaurants, although a seperate room can be set aside for smokers providing no food is served in it. Bars larger than 50m2 must provide seperate smoking and smoke-free areas and smoking is still permitted in bars smaller than 50m2. Penalities range from EUR 150 to EUR 1650.

Smoking on public transport vehicles (trams, buses, underground trains) has been prohibited since 1976 and in 2004, the national train company prohibited smoking on all domestic trains.

Prior to the 2005 Royal Decree smoking in cafes, hotels and restaurants was regulated by the Royal Decree of May 15, 1990 (Ministerial Decree of January 2, 1991 and Royal Decree of February 9, 1991) and stipulates that cafes and restaurants that are greater than 50m2 should provide 50% non-smoking areas, which are clearly indicated as such. All caf├ęs and restaurants are also required to have a smoke extraction or air ventilation system. Under the same Royal Decree, smoking in enclosed public places is not permitted, although enclosed premises where foods and/or drinks are offered for consumption are exempt from legislation. Smoking is not permitted in areas that form part of premises where sick or elderly people are cared for; health services are provided; children are admitted; education is provided; shows are performed; exhibits are organized; or sports are practised. This Royal Decree was badly enforced. In 2004, for example, 43% of bars and restaurants did not comply with the legislation. A Royal Decree of February 7, 1997 forbid smoking in places where food products are produced, stored or sold.

From 1st April 2005, Belgian businesses were given the right to require their employees to work longer if they stop for smoking breaks during the working day. Some companies already require smokers to work for 15 minutes longer at the end of the day to make up for lost time.

Source: AshScotland - Updated 24th January 2007