One last hurdle – the signature of Czech President Miloa
Zeman –before the so called Anti-Smoking Bill enters into
force on 31 May 2017.
On 19 January 2017, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech
Republic approved the government bill of the Act on Protection from
the Harmful Effects of Addictive Substances (the
"Bill"), which is due to enter into
force on 31 May 2017, subject to signature by the President.
The Bill follows lengthy political debates and battles pitting
the interests of various stakeholders (politicians, lobbyists,
corporations and health-protection institutions) against each
other, which for many years have hindered any reasonable progress
at the legislative level. As a result, the general public has
become frustrated and sceptical about the real chances of the Czech
Republic ever becoming smoke-free. Although the President has yet
to sign the Bill, he has expressed support for it (despite himself
being an avid smoker), and it is already perceived by many as a
pleasant surprise and a historical victory.
Act on Protection from the Harmful Effects of Addictive
The Bill repeals the current Act No. 379/2005 Coll., on Measures
on Protection from Harms Caused by Tobacco Products, Alcohol and
other Addictive Substances. The Bill regulates the use and sale of
all addictive substances, including alcohol, cigarettes, smoking
tools and electronic cigarettes. Among other things, the Bill
modifies the current system of regulation of the use and sale of
products designated for smoking, with the most relevant changes
new definition of smoking tools and
expanded and modified scope of
smoking ban; and
new regulation of sale of tobacco
products, smoking tools and electronic cigarettes, including
New definition of electronic cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes are newly (more broadly) defined as
"products which may be used for inhalation of nicotine or
other fumes", meaning that non-nicotine
electronic cigarettes are also drawn into the scope of
application of the Bill – including the smoking ban.
The most significant changes to the current legislation are
apparent in the regulation of smoking bans, which apply to
both tobacco products and electronic cigarettes.
The Bill abandons the list of places where smoking is prohibited
(current legislation) and simply extends the ban to smoking
in all interior premises that are freely accessible to the
public. It further expressly expands the smoking ban
transit areas at international
shelters and waiting rooms for public
public transportation (buses, trams,
medical establishments (hospitals,
clinics, etc.) and in related operational facilities;
schools and educational
establishments, including establishments aimed at the provision of
childcare, and in premises where extracurricular education is
zoos (with the exception of
all internal premises of all
all internal premises aimed
at providing entertainment (e.g. concert halls, cinemas,
clubs, etc.); and
all internal premises of
restaurants and establishments providing catering services
(e.g. cafés, bars, etc.), with the
exception of water pipes and electronic cigarettes.
Exceptions to the ban
In the case of:
publicly accessible internal
transit areas at international
psychiatric wards and establishments
for treating addictions (Section 8 (1) (e) of the Bill); and
smoking is allowed in structurally separated
premises. The term "structurally separated
premises" is precisely defined (e.g. must not allow the
passage or leakage of smoke to premises where smoking is
prohibited), must be clearly labelled as such, whereas only persons
above the age of 18 shall be allowed into such smoking
The Bill does not provide any such exemptions for other
locations, such as bars or restaurants, where, on the
other hand, the use of electronic cigarettes is allowed.
In addition, local municipalities may further expand the
ban on smoking by prohibiting smoking in publicly accessible open
premises in the vicinity of schools, school establishments
or other premises reserved for activities of persons under the age
Sanctions for non-compliance
Smoking in premises where smoking is prohibited constitutes an
administrative offence for which a fine of up to CZK 5,000 (approx.
EUR 185) may be imposed.
Further to the obligation to comply with the smoking ban, owners
or operators of premises where smoking is prohibited are also
required to ensure compliance with the smoking ban (e.g. asking a
person violating the ban to leave the premises, labelling separated
premises for smoking). Failure to comply with these obligations may
result in an administrative fine of up to CZK 50,000 (approx. EUR
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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