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Smoking ban in restaurants reduces smoking-related diseases

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Prague, April 9 (CTK) – The statistical data of the Czech Institute of Health Information and Statistics (UZIS) on the number of hospitalised persons over smoking-related diseases show its fall after smoking ban in restaurants was enacted last May, Ondrej Majek, an UZIS expert, told journalists on Monday.

The biggest fall was recorded among the elderly over 60, Majek said.

On Tuesday, the Chamber of Deputies is scheduled to debate a bill softening the conditions of the law banning smoking in restaurants and other public spaces.

The government did not support the bill.

The ban took effect last May. The statisticians compared the number of hospitalised people between July and September in 2016 and 2017.

In the latter period, there were 13.1 percent less hospitalised patients under 60 over a heart attack.

When it comes to angina pectoris and ischemic heart diseases, there was a 16 percent decline for the people under 60 and 11.6 percent for those over 60.

In all, the number of hospitalisations fell by 7,200.

With regard to asthma, the number fell by around 11 percent.

In all, there were almost 10,000 hospitalisations fewer during the five months in question, while their total number was about one million.

Eva Kralikova, chairwoman of the Society for Treatment of Tobacco Addiction, said smoking costs the Czech state some 100 billion crowns annually, while it collected about 60 billion crowns through the tax on tobacco and related taxation.

She said a smoker smokes some 11 cigarettes daily . On average, smoking starts at the age of 10-12, she added.

The impact of the measure on tumoral diseases will only bring to bear later, experts 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.

Smoking of e-cigarettes is still allowed in restaurants.

According to a draft amendment, initiated by right-wing Civic Democrat (ODS) MP Marek Benda and signed by 90 deputies from eight groups, separated smoking rooms would be allowed in selected types of establishments. These rooms must have their own air-conditioning and would be unattended by waiters. The smoking rooms could take up 30 percent of the restaurant’s area at the most.

The draft also enables the owners of small bars and pubs, with the area under 80 square metres, to decide whether their establishment will be smoking or non-smoking one.

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