Seeking room for smokers

| April 12, 2018

The Czech Constitutional Court is scheduled to rule next week on a draft amendment to the country’s public-places smoking ban that took effect in May last year, according to a CTK National News Wire story relayed by the TMA.

The amendment, proposed by MP Marek Benda of the Civic Democrats would allow hotels and other businesses to create separate smoking areas with their own ventilation systems.

The court chairman and judge rapporteur Pavel Rychetsky has examined the amendment and the court has published the terms of announcement of its decision on its official website.

Despite Prime Minister Andrej Babis rejecting the draft amendment, the Chamber of Deputies or the lower house of Parliament is expected to debate the proposal.

Radio Prague reported in February that eighty-six deputies from eight parties in the Czech Republic’s lower house had put their signatures to Benda’s proposal to loosen the ban on tobacco smoking in public places.

The report noted that as well as proposing the creation within these venues of separate smoking areas, the amendment proposed allowing the owners of bars with an area of 80 square meters or smaller to decide whether to allow smoking or not.

Meanwhile, towards the end of March, Reuters reported that Austria’s lower house of parliament had voted to scrap an impending ban on smoking in bars and restaurants.

The vote was a win for the coalition government and came despite opposition from health campaigners and opposition parties.

At present, large restaurants in Austria are required to provide separate smoking and non-smoking areas, but the rules are reportedly not rigidly implemented. Smaller restaurants need not have a separate area if the owner agrees to allow smoking on the premises.

Now that parliament has approved the bill, it has to be passed by the upper house and signed by the president. It is widely expected to pass in the upper house and to be signed into law.

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Category: Breaking News, People, Regulation

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