Friday, 25 April 2014

Health minister wants total ban on smoking in pubs

9 January 2013

Prague, Jan 8 (CTK) - Czech Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) is preparing a new bill that would completely ban smoking in restaurants, except for their open-air premises, and also the sale of cigarettes and alcohol through vending machines and at vendors' stands, he told journalists Tuesday.

The planned bill is to enhance the protection of children and youth from alcohol and tobacco and also the protection of non-smokers.

The sale of alcohol or cigarettes to persons under 18 and under 15 will be fined one million and two million crowns, respectively.

"I'm glad that we've managed to draft a bill that will further extend the non-smoking areas and reduce the access to tobacco products and alcoholic drinks," Heger said.

Boris Stastny, deputy from the senior ruling Civic Democratic Party (ODS) and head of the Chamber of Deputies' health committee, said at least 101 deputies in the 200-seat Chamber are ready to support the bill, which has thus a chance to succeed.

Apart from tightening sanctions, Heger also wants to bind restaurants to offer at least one type of alcohol-free beverage that would be cheaper than the cheapest alcohol on offer.

Restaurant owners would also be sanctioned for the presence of drunk youth in their pubs.

A novelty in the anti-tobacco protection of children and youth is the ban on the entry of people under 18 in the premises such as entertainment clubs or special airport rooms where smoking is permitted.

The ban on smoking will continue at schools, in offices, health facilities and it will be newly introduced at children's playgrounds.

The sale of alcohol and cigarettes through vending machines will be banned as a prevention of the juveniles' access to the goods. Similarly, the ban will apply to vendors' stands at market places except for annual fairs, celebrations and cultural events.

Stastny praised Heger for being he first health minister to submit a new bill on the protection of people against the damage caused by alcohol, tobacco and other addictive substances.

He called on tobacco producers not to lobby against the planned measures aimed to protect children and non-smokers.

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