Sunday, 20 April 2014

Health minister: Smoking ban in pubs will protect youth

ČTK |
30 January 2013

Prague, Jan 29 (CTK) - A bill that bans smoking in all Czech restaurants would protect 30 percent of underage smokers from turning into tobacco addicts, Health Minister Leos Heger said, citing a student survey whose results were released yesterday.

The survey was conducted by the Ipsos company and Prague's Faculty of Social Sciences among 1006 people aged from 18 to 22 in September 2012.

Heger said the new bill wants to protect children, youths and non-smokers.

Apart from the planned introduction of the smoking ban, the bill would ban sales of cigarettes in vending machines and increase the fines imposed on those who sold cigarettes to children under 15 and youths under 18 up to two million and one million crowns, respectively.

The survey showed that two-thirds of the young smokers lit up in pubs, bars and music clubs. Nearly three of four occasional smokers said they smoke only in these indoor public spaces.

The survey's author Miroslav Sliz said the possibility to smoke in pubs and similar places supports smoking among youths.

"If a national ban on smoking in pubs was introduced, one-fourth of regular smokers and a half of occasional smokers say they would have never started smoking," Sliz said.

Almost one-third of those who began smoking before they were 18 years old said they would not start smoking if there was a smoking ban, he added.

A student survey from spring 2012 indicated that a vast majority of Czechs (78 percent) would like smoking to be prohibited in restaurants.

Pub owners oppose a smoking ban because they fear that their turnover would drop.

The survey showed that a slight majority (53 percent) of Czechs aged from 18 to 22 are smokers, and more than one-fourth (27 percent) of them smoke every day or nearly every day.

Most regular smokers started smoking before they reached the age of 16.

The sooner people start smoking, the more probable it is that they will become regular smokers, experts concluded.

Most Czech smokers lit their first cigarette around the age of 14.

Most young people (86 percent) consider smoking an addiction and two-thirds of them would like to quit smoking in future.

The survey also showed that young people tend to become smokers more often if at least one of their parents is or at least was a smoker.

The numbers of smokers are the highest among youths who studied at vocational schools and already have a job.

Half of regular young s

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