“Approximately 20 thousand people die every year as a direct result of smoking”, Blokhuis explains. “Every day, about 75 teenagers younger than 18 start smoking, and most of them have their first cigarette on school premises.”

This is no longer acceptable, according to the cabinet. The ban will apply to all education establishments, from primary schools to higher education, and these institutes will be responsible for enforcing the policy as well.

Amendment from 2016

The ban stems from an amendment from 2016 that was introduced by Carla Dik-Faber of the ChristenUnie, a Member of the House of Representatives and fellow member of Blokhuis’s party. It took a while, but the complete ban is finally going to be a reality.

According to a spokesperson, the slow process has to do with the practical execution of the ban; the concrete formulation and enforcement. The change of cabinet also slowed things down.

Outsiders should also observe the ban. “If, for instance, a theatre company rents the auditorium of an educational institute after hours to rehearse a show”, writes Blokhuis, “its members won’t be allowed to smoke on the premises either — the ban will have to be enforced.”

Five smoking areas

Since the start of the current academic year, only five designated smoking areas remain on campus Woudestein. In anticipation of the national ban, the university had already announced that it would remove the last five areas in September 2020. The Erasmus MC has been smoke free for longer, as it’s a hospital.

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