National Smokeless Day brings interactive 'World Without Smoke' lab to Prague

The lab lets people compare the effects of traditional cigarettes with alternatives; free concerts and events are also planned.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 06.09.2021 16:50 (updated on 06.09.2021)

While not exactly an official holiday, National Smokeless Day takes place on Tuesday, Sept. 7, with the main event at the campus of the Czech Technical University (ČVUT) in Prague 6.

A free program in the afternoon will culminate in concerts from popular favorites Monkey Business and 2019 Eurovision contestants Lake Malawi. The morning will see professional conference that is not intended for the general public.

The name of “National Smokeless Day” is perhaps a bit deceptive, as it is not trying to get people to stop using tobacco products, but the switch to a different type of product that doesn’t burn tobacco.

The main sponsor of the event is the Czech branch of tobacco maker Philip Morris, which is promoting a tobacco alternative that it claims is safer than smoking. A portable World Without Smoke (Svět bez kouře) lab that was recently at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will be at ČVUT. The lab lets people compare the effects of traditional cigarettes to an alternative that heats tobacco to creates a nicotine aerosol.

Svět bez kouře pavillion at Karlovy Vary. (Photo: Philip Morris)
Svět bez kouře pavillion at Karlovy Vary. (Photo: Philip Morris)

The World Without Smoke lab is not new to Prague. It was previously at Výstaviště in Holešovice in April. It has two parts, a geodesic dome tent with informative computer screens and a rectangular pavilion made to resemble a scientific lab.

The lab makes use of a fictional person called Professor Albert Dohořel, who appears on large video screens. He was created using motion capture technology. A camera in the lab helps cue the “professor” to when he should interact with visitors. The name “Dohořel” is a Czech pun, as it means “burned low.”

The two parts of the pavilion also other displays such as digital X-rays and see-though tubes with cotton balls – representing lungs – that compare the effects of 90 cigarettes to 90 smokeless tobacco cartridges.

The products Philip Morris is promoting still contain tobacco. It is different than electronic cigarettes, which uses liquid containing nicotine. Philip Morris’ smokeless cartridges are heated at a lower temperature compared to what cigarettes burn at, and create an aerosol that contains nicotine.

“Although smoke-free alternatives are not risk-free, it is known that the majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke comes from burning tobacco. This smoke contains dozens of harmful and potentially harmful constituents. Remove the burning and you can significantly reduce the levels of many of these chemicals,” Philip Morris International states on its website.

In its long-term strategy, Philip Morris plans to completely stop selling traditional cigarettes in Europe. In March, the company announced it plans to have smoke-free products to account for more than 50 percent of its total net revenues by 2025.

Svět bez kouře pavillion at Karlovy Vary. (Photo: Philip Morris)
Svět bez kouře pavillion at Karlovy Vary. (Photo: Philip Morris)

Smoking of traditional cigarettes has been on the decline in the Czech Republic in recent years. Statistics released by the State Institute of Public Health (SZÚ) for World No Tobacco Day, on May 31, showed that 23.1 percent of people aged over 15 smoked classical cigarettes in 2020, compared to 24.9 percent in 2019 and about 31 percent in 2012.

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The same data showed that heated tobacco products, of the type Philip Morris is promoting, in 2020 were used by 4.1 percent, compared to about 3 percent one year before. They are mostly used by people between the ages of 25 and 44. Electronic cigarettes were used by 4.8 percent.

An anti-smoking law came into effect in 2017. It bans on smoking in indoor areas of restaurants, theaters, cafes, and cinemas throughout the Czech Republic. The law was later extended to include a ban on smoking in public transportation areas, shopping centers, and playgrounds.

National Smokeless Day, ČVUT Campus, Thákurova 9, Prague 6

  • noon: beginning of the festival
  • 2 pm: introductory words by moderator Nasty
  • 2:10 pm: Sway Away
  • 4:00 pm: Flat White Orchestra
  • 6:00 pm: Lake Malawi
  • 8:00 pm: Monkey Business
  • 9:30 pm: end of the festival

Source: Facebook

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