As elsewhere in the developed world, the average life expectancy for Czech men and women has been growing, but the sad news is that they are not spending their old age in good health. The Czech Health Ministry is ringing alarm bells and focussing on campaigns that will raise awareness of the health risks responsible for serious illnesses in the aging population.
The anti-smoking bill, which came into effect in the Czech Republic two
years ago, has had a positive effect on people’s health, Minister of
Health Adam Vojtěch told reporters on Thursday.
Since June 2017, when smoking in pubs, restaurants and other facilities was strictly banned, there were fewer people hospitalised with heart attacks or asthma. Experts say the effect of the ban on cancer can be assessed in about ten years’ time.
The National Public Health Institute’s data show that the number of smokers in the 15 to 19 age group dropped by 15 percent between 2017 and 2018. There has also been a drop in the number of young people aged 15 to 24 who start smoking.
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 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.