The number of non-smokers in the Czech Republic rose by 3.5 percent between
2016 and 2017, according to new data released on Thursday. Last year 24
percent of respondents in an annual survey conducted by the State Health
Institute said that they were smokers.
The latest figures were released on the first anniversary of the introduction of a ban on smoking in Czech bars and restaurants.
The acting health minister, Adam Vojtěch, said the prohibition was influencing the number of smokers in view of the fact that young people were the biggest smokers and many of them begin the habit in bars and nightclubs.
It’s almost a year to the day since the Czech Republic finally moved to ban smoking in bars, cafes, and restaurants. And while the ban is still a live issue with sporadic attempts to change the law, a survey commissioned by Charles University shows support is still strong among Czechs and suggests that there are a lot of myths about its impact.
A tough smoking ban in pubs and restaurants, which went into force a year
ago, is supported by 71 percent of Czechs, according to the results of a
poll carried out by the Ipsos polling agency in cooperation with Charles
University. Twelve percent of respondents were vehemently against the ban.
Over 1,000 people were surveyed.
Surveys suggest that around a quarter of Czechs still smoke. The Constitutional Court recently rejected a complaint against the smoking ban on the grounds that it restricted the rights of individuals and entrepreneurs. A recent move to soften the ban in Parliament also failed.
A total ban on smoking came into effect at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport
on Tuesday. Previous smoking areas in the facility’s transit areas have
been done away with and the ban also applies to electronic cigarettes.
Operators said they expected the number of smoke-free airports to grow and wished to get on board with the healthy trend.
Fourteen spots near entrances to the airport’s buildings have been reserved for smokers.
The anti-smoking bill, which was introduced in the Czech Republic in May last year, has already had a positive effect on people’s health, according to newly released data by the Prague-based Institute of Health Information and Data. Doctors and anti-smoking campaigners say it is a strong argument against proposals to soften the ban.
The outgoing government on Wednesday rejected a proposal to relax a ban on
smoking at Czech pubs, restaurants and some other facilities, which was
introduced last year. The amendment was proposed by Civic Democratic deputy
Marek Benda and envisaged creating separate smoking areas in pubs with
their own ventilation. Under the proposal, bars with an area of 80 square
meters or smaller could decide themselves whether to allow smoking or not.
Health Minister Adam Vojtěch said after the government meeting that it was too early to assess the effects of the anti-smoking bill, which has been in force since May last year. The proposal will now be debated in the lower house.
Over 100 Czech pubs and restaurants have been found guilty of contravening
a smoking ban that was brought in at the end of May, iDnes.cz reported on
Wednesday. Fines totalling CZK 243,000 have been levied.
The highest number of cases has been recorded in Central Bohemia, but the highest amount in sanctions has been imposed in the Ústí nad Labem region, where there pubs have been fined CZK 120,000.
Officials in Ústí nad Labem receive an average of two to three reports of illicit smoking from the public every day. Such reports are the most common manner that breaches are uncovered.
The Czech Republic has been judged the world’s unhealthiest country by
Clinic Compare, a UK clinic comparison website. It collated information
from the World Health Organization, the CIA World Factbook and the World
Lung Association and ranked each state according to three factors: alcohol
consumption, tobacco consumption and obesity levels.
The study’s authors said residents of the Czech Republic consumed an average of 13.7 litres of pure alcohol annually and ranked 11th highest in per capita cigarettes smoked a year. Russia came second in the survey, followed by Slovenia, Belarus and Slovakia.
A three-month transition period following the introduction of a smoking ban
in Czech restaurants and pubs has come to an end. From Wednesday operators
may be fined up to CZK 50,000 if inspectors find lit cigarettes on their
premises. The ban came into effect on May 31.
The Czech Ministry of Health is preparing to launch an information campaign in the coming months to clarify the legislation. A particular issue is the interpretation of the ban with regard to hostelries’ outdoor covered areas and beer gardens.