According to the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and the Self-Employed (AMSP), the smoking ban had a positive impact on Czech gastronomy. People started coming to restaurants they had not visited before the smell of smoke. However, the law should clearly define how food service providers should approach e-cigarettes and other similar products.
This is what Lubos Kastner, restaurateur and guarantor of the My Restaurant project for AMSP, told CTK. The smoking ban in Czech restaurants, cafes and bars came into force five years ago, on May 31, 2017.
Kastner is convinced that catering companies have not suffered financial losses due to smoking cessation. However, as a result of the ban, according to him, the structure of the market changed, where various smoking clubs began to appear and operators tried to bypass the standard in this way. “It’s 2022, smoking is out of fashion in society,” Kastner said. In January of this year, the Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the ban on smoking in restaurants could not be circumvented by setting up private clubs.
Data from SaltPay, which creates the Storyous restaurant system, show that the smoking ban did not significantly affect sales or restaurant attendance. According to the company’s press secretary, Yana Kokhotouva, customers have gradually become accustomed to the new standard and, for the most part, respect it. If guests want to smoke, they go out.
“In any case, we consider the ban on smoking in restaurants a step in the right direction, which has benefited the Czech gastronomy and is in line with the pan-European trend and efforts to reduce the number of smokers,” he added.
People often smoke their first cigarette in a restaurant, so the five-year ban has helped some people not to start smoking or to stop smoking altogether. This was stated in an interview with CTK by the president of the Society for the treatment of tobacco addiction Eva Kralikova. Milan Šova, head of the Department of Pulmonary Disease and Tuberculosis at Brno University Hospital, confirms the benefit, saying that many patients have started smoking less.
“Smoking in a restaurant was probably the most common cause of relapse in our patients,” Kralikova said.
“Many patients report that they smoke less because they can not drink beer and smoke in a restaurant. “This positive effect is long-lasting,” said Owl, a pulmonologist. According to him, the ban on smoking in restaurants is for many patients another argument in favor of smoking cessation.
According to Kralikova, about two-thirds of smokers want to quit smoking and make dozens of efforts in their lifetime. But without the help of doctors, only about four in a hundred people can do it. As a result, specialized centers have been set up, but help can also be obtained from GPs or some pharmacies. There are also medications that help get rid of tobacco addiction. Although not covered by state health insurance, Kralikova said they cost about as much as a pack of cigarettes a day. Insurance companies partially help their clients.
In addition to addiction, doctors have linked smoking to an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer and cancer of the breast, colon, rectum or cervix. Doctors estimate that the number of smoking-related deaths is between 16,000 and 18,000 per year, mainly due to lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
According to research by the State Institute of Public Health, the percentage of smokers in the population has been declining for some time. In 2021, almost 30% of people over the age of 15 smoked at least occasionally. In 2017, when the ban took effect, about 25% of people smoked in restaurants and other places such as zoos or playgrounds. In 2020, according to the latest data, it was about 23% of smokers.
Less than 5% of the population used e-cigarettes. Doctors warn that these products also adversely affect the health of the heart and blood vessels, but do not produce carcinogens in them to the same extent as when burning tobacco.
Increasing the price of cigarettes would help, Kralikova said. According to her, people today buy twice as much as the average salary than 20 years ago. “For cigarettes to be as affordable as they were twenty years ago, a pack would have to cost about 250 kroner,” he said.
As an additional measure, Kralikova proposes to integrate the packaging of cigarettes with uniform appearance, font and color, while maintaining current health warnings. Cigarettes should also not be sold in grocery stores and advertising at the point of sale should not be allowed, he said.
“If a child lived in an environment where cigarettes cost 300 or 400 kroner, where he would not see smoking anywhere or on the street and would not see cigarettes being sold anywhere, you basically do not need to do anything. otherwise.” she concluded.
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