Most Czechs favor restaurant smoking ban

Public Place Smoking

A smoking ban is on the order-paper anew. An amendment to the Tobacco Act that could become operative starting with January 2013 is being prepared by the Ministry of Health. Prime Minister Petr Nečas, parliamentary health committee chairman Boris Šťastný and Health Minister Leoš Heger agree to this measure.

Gradually, the Czech society has approved anti-smoking legislation.

Public Place Smoking

Man smoking marlboro cigarettes in a restaurant

According to the survey of Charles University and the Ipsos agency, 78 % of respondents approved that the smoking ban should be accomplished. A research conducted by the Median agency last autumn revealed that 70 % of Czechs agree. It is 20% more than four years ago and 35% more than in 2005.

The number of Czechs who take stand in favor of smoking in restaurants, bars and cafes is increasing and more than half of the Czech population wants this smoking ban to be implemented at such areas completely, a survey led by the Median agency for the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) has found.

The figures differ significantly from another survey made by the Eurobarometer agency half a year ago. At that time only one third of Czech public agreed to smoking ban in restaurants.

Smokers, on the other hand, disapprove this measure because they do not want to go out of the restaurant to smoke. Only 13 % of smokers maintained a ban of smoking in restaurants.

The fact that the Czech public changed opinion is not unexpected. In accordance with the latest research, the main and frequent complain among Czechs visiting restaurants, bars and cafes is cigarette smoke. 64 % of the adult Czech population are smokers and 61 % admit that smokers subdue the freedom of non-smokers, who suffer from cigarette smoke only because they feel they have no choice.

Announcing the results of the research, Ipsos head Radek Jalůvka noticed that the Czech Republic was among the last European Union countries not to establish smoking ban in restaurants while Great Britain, France and Germany are among those fully accustomed to the smoking bans. Such measure as smoking ban has also been enacted in Greece and Turkey where smoking rates are higher that in the Czech Republic.

A frequent reasoning not to impose smoking bans is the fear that restaurants will loose their common income. In conformity with Jalůvka, this fear is groundless in the long term; while a small primary decrease of perhaps 3% can be expected in the first few months, later the number of owners will increase by at least 6% — in accordance with the joint study with Charles University, in which 8,488 respondents took part. That is similar to a Kč 6 billion grow in yearly turnover.

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