Czech Republic - pubs and restaurants allow smoking or Do NOT allow smoking

July 28, 2009 - From now on – if the president signs it – pubs and restaurants will decide whether they are smoking or not, and will be obliged to say so on the door.
Czech Republic..

The present legislation merely requires the owners of such establishments to divide seating areas into smoking and non-smoking, but when all that means is smoke wafting over from a smoking area into a non-smoking area, that separation is largely imaginary. As any visitor to Prague already knows, smokers are mostly free to light up anywhere and anytime they want in Czech bars, pubs and restaurants.

Boris Šťastný, one of the MPs who drew up the amendment: “At the moment the situation is absolute chaos. No-one knows where smoking is allowed and where it’s not. All the pub or restaurant has to do is put a sign on the table saying “smoking” and that automatically creates a smoking area. Now, at least, thanks to this new law, customers will know as soon as they walk through the door of the pub or restaurant whether it’s non-smoking or not.

Czech Republic (proportion of smokers 36%), one of the few countries of European Union where smoking in bars and restaurants is based on the discretion of owners. Many Czech parliament members are smokers and are highly resistant to change the law.

Kateřina Langrová is director of the Czech Coalition Against Tobacco: She says Czech MPs have folded before pressure from the tobacco lobby which wants to hold off anti-smoking measures as long as possible. She adds that the Czech Republic already stands out as the sole EU country that has not ratified a set of World Health Organisation (WHO)Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) because of opposition from tobacco companies.

Smoker and owner of a Prague pub- come- restaurant - Zdeněk Hach - made the conversion to a non smoking establishment almost by chance last year when he was banned from using his heated outdoor facility for smokers. But the experience proved a success and he decided to stick with it: “Surprisingly, from October to June I can say that our experience is that income from the kitchen and food has gone up between 5.0 and 8.0 percent, sales of beer are about the same and the only negative aspect has been that orders for coffee which used to be around 160 have now gone down to 50.”

More - Tobacco in the Czech Republic..

Reference: Czechs clarify smoking legislation but total ban still long way off by Rob Cameron, Radio PRAHA, 7/24/2009.

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