Smoking in open-air public spaces banned from 2025

Smoking in open-air public spaces banned from 2025
Credit: Christophe Ketels/Belga.

As part of a nationwide plan to combat smoking, Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) has announced plans to outlaw smoking in open-air public spaces from 2025.

On Friday, Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) announced plans for the Federal Government to significantly extend smoking prohibitions as part of its national anti-tobacco plan.

Among the measures taken, Vandenbroucke stated that the government will look to ban smoking in open-air public areas, which would result in "cigarettes being banned from amusement parks, animal parks, children's farms, and playgrounds beginning 1 January 2025," the minister stated.

In addition, the government intends to ban the sale of cigarettes in bars, cafés, and festivals, from 2025 onwards. "We have also achieved an agreement to halt the sale of tobacco to food shops of more than 400 m2 by 2028," Vandenbroucke said, adding that ministers will consider VAT increase on tobacco before the end of the year.

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Yet some people have pointed to the lack of government action in opposing the tobacco industry's lobbying practices. The Belgian Foundation against Cancer told Le Soir that "we still don't have a formal policy to exclude tobacco companies from decisions relating to public health."

The foundation also remarked that this is in spite of Belgium agreeing to a WHO convention in 2006 that should normally see the tobacco industry excluded from interfering in policy decisions.

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