Government rejects proposal to soften anti-smoking bill

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.