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Belgium | Royaume de Belgique | Königreich Belgien

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A Royal Decree of February 7, 1997 forbids smoking in places where food products are produced, stored or sold.

A Royal Decree dated May 15, 1990 with respect to a ban on smoking in certain public places forbid smoking in enclosed areas, accessible to the public, which are part of establishments or buildings where:

  • services are rendered to the public, whether for payment or not, including places where foodstuffs and/or beverages are served;
  • patients or elderly people are received or healed;
  • preventive or therapeutic health care is provided;
  • children and school age young people are received, housed or treated;
  • education and/or professional training is provided;
  • shows are produced;
  • exhibitions are given;
  • sports are played.

However, clearly delimited areas may be reserved for smokers and the surface area of these spaces which can be reserved for smokers must not exceed one half the total surface area of the enclosed space (starting with December 1992) .This provision doesn’t apply to enclosed areas, the principal activity of which is the serving of foodstuffs and/or beverages, and the surface area of which does not exceed 50 m2. 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. Since the 1 January 2006, Belgium has banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces. Smoking is only allowed in designated areas. However, employers are not obliged to create such areas. The smoking ban also applies in spaces used by self-employed persons working with employees, to which such employees have access. Total smoking ban in trains and railway stations. Buses and trams are smoke-free. From the 1st of January 2007 there is total ban on smoking in restaurants or drinking places where the serving of food is an important activity. They can have however a separate room equipped as smoking room which cannot be larger than a quarter of the total surface of the restaurant. For drinking houses, smoking is only allowed in the consumption room, when this one is larger than 50m2, at least half of the drinking houses should be smoke free and the discomfort for the non smokers should be reduced to a minimum. Penalties range from EUR 150 to EUR 1650 Smoking still allowed in bars <50m2. The law prohibits the sale of tobacco products via automatic vending machines, with the exception of vending machines installed in premises where such tobacco products are sold in the traditional way. Legal age to buy tobacco is 16.