Dutch smokers have begun the New Year with severe restrictions placed on where and when they can light up.
The Netherlands has one of Europe's highest smoking rates
Laws which came into effect at midnight ban smoking in many public places including railway stations, trains, toilets and offices.
At work, staff will only be able to smoke in special rooms fitted with extractor fans.
Employers are under no obligation to provide a room. They risk being fined if they allow staff to go on smoking.
Hotels, bars and restaurant have won a temporary reprieve, but only on condition that they find a compromise by 2005.
COVERED BY SMOKING BAN
Stations, including partially-covered train and bus platforms
Places of work, including stairs and hallways
Around one third of the Dutch population of 16 million currently smoke - higher than all other European Union countries except Spain, Greece and Germany.
The government is aiming to cut the total by 5% over the next three years.
In the run-up to the New Year regulations, more than 850,000 Dutch smokers pledged online to quit in 2004.
They registered on a website run by the Dutch Foundation for Public Health and Smoking, Stivoro.
"Most people who register on the site say they want to quit for
health reasons," said director
"But I think that for many people the fact that they will no longer be able to smoke in the workplace as of New Year's Day has helped give them that extra push."
Many Dutch smokers are unhappy about the ban but have bowed to the inevitable, says 28-year-old heavy smoker Joost van
"Smokers are not really prepared any more to stand up for their
habit. In the back of our minds we know we will have to stop sooner
or later," he said.
"I think the government strategy is successful and in the medium
term a lot of people will give up smoking."
Plans for an even stricter ban in Ireland, which were also due to take effect at midnight, have been postponed.
In New York, critics claim a strict ban has hit takings in bars.