The Netherlands has become the first European country to overturn its smoking ban — by allowing more than 2,000 pubs and bars to re-introduce smoking — two years after the ban was brought in.
Smokers will soon be allowed to light up in small owner-operated bars that are less than 753.5 square feet in size and have no other staff.
An incoming coalition government has also cancelled 280 fines accumulated during a campaign of civil disobedience by smokers and bar owners.
Wiel Maessen, leader of an anti-ban protest group representing 1,250 small bars, told the Daily Telegraph: "I lit an extra cigarette when I heard the news. But the fight will not be over until the ban is lifted for all pubs."
Dutch health minister Edith Schippers said: "The new law will allow consumer choice. A sign will inform customers whether or not they are allowed to smoke on the premises."
Clean Air Netherlands, a public health lobbying group, has launched a campaign to reinstate the ban.
In the UK last month, 86 MPs voted in favour of Conservative MP David Nuttall's Private Members' Bill calling for licensees to be allowed freedom to choose whether to allow smoking or not.