SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Rotterdam is set become the first city in the Netherlands to introduce smoke-free streets, the AD reported on Friday.
The ban will cover two streets which are shared by the Erasmus Medical Centre, the Erasmiaans Gymnasium school and the Hogeschool Rotterdam college.
Rather than tackling the problem on their own and risking driving away smokers to their neighbours’ premises, the three institutions joined forces and wrote a letter to the council asking for a total ban on smoking in the nearby streets.
‘Cigarette ends everywhere are a nuisance and we must consider the health of 30,000 students, pupils and patients and staff who are here every day,’ Agmet Olgun of Hogeschool Rotterdam told the paper.
According to the council’s policy department, it is likely the ban will soon be in place. ‘Rotterdam is at the forefront of anti-smoking measures,’ a spokesman for the department said.
If approved Rotterdam would be the first city to introduce smoke-free streets. According to Tom Voeten of anti-smoking organisation Clean Air Now, only Groningen and Amstelveen have included smoking bans in their bye-laws but not for entire streets.
‘Rotterdam would be a first,’ he told the paper. Not smoking in public spaces, such as streets, is a question of changing one habit for another, Olgun said. ‘People used to smoke in the work place.
Now no one even thinks of lighting up there. Not smoking is the new norm. A much-used shelter for smokers at the Erasmus Medical Centre will go as well. The centre did not want to say if it will come back in another place, the AD writes. (DutchNews)