Czech restaurants celebrate five years of smoke-free dining

The Czech Republic's ban on smoking in restaurants came into effect on May 31, 2017, and local businesses ultimately benefited from the regulation. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 28.05.2022 09:59:00 (updated on 28.05.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Five years have now passed since the Czech Republic's ban on smoking in restaurants, pubs, and other indoor establishments took effect on World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2017.

One of the concerns expressed by opponents was that local restaurants would lose business due to the ban. But that has not been the case, according to the Czech Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts (AMSP). In addition, the number of regular smokers in the Czech Republic has declined over the past years, with medical professionals crediting the ban for helping some quit.

According to the AMSP, the smoking ban has resulted in increased business for local restaurants, as patrons who may have avoided previously-smoke-filled establishments now feel welcome to enter them. Smokers, meanwhile, have become used to stepping outside for a cigarette, even in colder weather.

Has the smoking ban had a positive impact on life in the Czech Republic?

Yes 89 %
No 11 %
92 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

"It's the year 2022, smoking does not belong in society," local restaurateur Luboš Kastner, who runs the My Restaurant project for AMSP, told ČTK. According to Kastner, however, the ban should be modified to cover increasingly-popular electronic cigarettes, which are not currently specified in the law.

Data from SaltPay, the company behind the Storyous electronic cash register system used by many restaurants in the Czech Republic, confirms the Association's findings.

"We consider the ban on smoking in restaurants to be a step in the right direction, which has benefited the Czech restaurant scene and goes hand in hand with the European effort to reduce the overall number of smokers," says SaltPay spokesperson Jana Kohotouvá.

The Czech Republic's ban on smoking in restaurants has also aided those trying to quit, according to the Society for the Treatment of Tobacco Addiction.

"Smoking in a restaurant was perhaps the most common cause of relapse in our patients," says Eva Králíková, chair of the society. Under the smoking ban, casual smokers may not find themselves as often in a situation where smoking is a social norm.

According to Králíková, around two-thirds of regular smokers want to quit smoking, and have attempted to do so dozens of times. Without the help of doctors, however, only about four percent of smokers succeed in quitting.

"Many patients report that they smoke less because they cannot smoke while having a beer in a restaurant," confirms Milan Sova, a lung doctor and head of the Department of Pulmonary Diseases and TB at Brno's University Hospital.

"This positive effect is long-lasting, and the effects will be seen [in the healthcare industry] in time." Doctors in the Czech Republic estimate about 16,000-18,000 deaths per year are the result of smoking-related diseases.

Data from the Czech Republic's National Institute of Public Health confirms that smoking has significantly decreased in the country over the past years.

In 2018, 28.5% of the Czech Republic's adult population (over the age of 15) were smokers. However, that number dipped to 23.1% according to a 2020 survey.

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