Friday, 24 March 2017

Senators want court to abolish smoking ban in restaurants

ČTK |
17 March 2017

Prague, March 16 (CTK) - Czech senators have proposed the Constitutional Court (US) to abolish the "anti-smoking" law's provisions such as the smoking ban in restaurants and the sale of alcohol in vending machines, Jaroslav Kubera and Ivo Valenta told CTK on behalf of the proposal's 20 signatories on Thursday.

Kubera (Civic Democrats, ODS), Valenta (unaffiliated) and the other signatories say the anti-smoking law, which is to take effect as of June, inadmissibly infringes upon citizens' freedom.

They say the law's implementation will thwart the investments made by thousands of bar and restaurant owners.

"The smoking ban imposed by the law definitely is not a health protection measure. It is another step to curtail and abolish our freedoms, and to secure profit and the control of people for those up there," Kubera said.

The law bans smoking in restaurants, theatres, cinemas, railway station platforms and other premises. It bans e-cigarettes in hospitals, schools and shopping centres, as well as the sale of cigarettes in vending machines.

The senators do not demand the abolition of the whole law, but of some of its provisions only.

They have also challenged the provision that transfers the responsibility for the damage caused by drunk people onto pub owners.

Valenta said it would be absurd if a wine producer bore the responsibility for the damage caused by a man who bought a bottle of wine from him.

Furthermore, the Senators want the US to lift the restrictions the law imposes on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products at events primarily designed for children.

"There exists no reason for the state to interfere in the leisure time families spend together," said Valenta.

He said the vague ban exposes vendors to willfulness of the inspection bodies.

Lawyer Zdenek Koudelka, who has formulated the senators' complaint, wrote in it that in a liberal, law-abiding state, public power should not bring up citizens and force them into a lifestyle that those in power consider correct.

"After all, suicide is not a crime in our country, which is why a behaviour that some consider unfriendly to the behaving subject's health, cannot be a crime either," Koudelka wrote in the document.

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