Prague’s Smoking Ban Comes into Effect

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It’s official – as of last month smoking in public places is now illegal in the Czech Republic.

The law was approved in February of this year, after Czech President Milos Zeman followed through on his promise to approve the bill as long as it had the support of Parliament. It officially came into effect on 31 May.

So, what exactly will the ban involve? Here are some of the key things that will change:

  • Smoking will be banned in all cafes, restaurants, bars, and pubs
  • There is also a ban on smoking at public transport stops, in entertainment venues like nightclubs, in hospitals, and in schools
  • There will be no specially designated smoking rooms
  • Part of the law prohibits the sale of alcohol stronger than 4.3% from being sold at sports events, and also bans the sale of alcohol in vending machines at these same events

There seems to be a lot to remember, and public opinion is divided over the ban.

This includes some senators who have outright opposed the move, claiming it’s an example of the government interfering in the public’s lives, and an attack on personal freedoms.

This isn’t the first time such a ban was attempted – but it has always failed in the past for one reason or another. It’s unclear how successful it will be this time round, or how exactly it will be enforced, but it’s definitely provoking some conversations.

The implementation of the ban coincides with the beginning of summer, so at least smoking aficionados won’t have to stand outside in the cold to enjoy a cigarette – although the large crowds congregating outside pubs and bars could spark some noise complaints from residents living above them.

Others have expressed concern that the ban will damage the profits of restaurants and bars, as heavy smokers will simply opt to stay at home.

Only time will tell, but a popular counter-argument is that even if some smokers are discouraged from going to the pub, their numbers will be offset by non-smokers and families who might start going out more if they can be sure of a smoke-free environment.

Police have been making routine checks on bars this week, with a possible maximum fine of 5000 CZK for anybody caught violating the law. The owners of the establishments will get off lightly for now – they have 90 days from the start of the ban where they won’t be fined if people smoke on their premises.

Across Prague, bar staff seem to be scrambling to set up outdoor seating areas, to provide their customers with a place to sit and smoke. With the recent hot weather, it seems many places have more customers outside than inside.

More seats for the non-smokers, I guess…

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Louis M.

1 Comment

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    It closed thousands of hospitality venues throughout the world because the non-smokers didn’t go to these venues after the ban was introduced and so it failed. Prague will go the same way as all the others.
    Also cancer rates are on the rise year after year and yet smoking is in decline, year after year. The official various governments figures verify this. Just go to the UK’s ONS site for confirmation.
    There has and always has been a simple solution but governments throughout the world never take the simple solutions anymore. Why is that?
    Shame, but, I will love the day all pubs and clubs are closed and become welfare controlled establishments. After all, we all now live in a Nanny World. What happened to the phase ‘live and let lie’?
    Pleased to say I won’t be around when the whole world becomes a ‘sheep like’ population dominated by a few.

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