Ministry of Health seeks to strengthen alcohol and tobacco regulations

As soon as in January 2016 smoking in restaurants could be banned across the Czech Republic as well as the sale of tobacco and alcohol in vending machines or online.

Restaurants would also be required to offer a non-alcoholic drink cheaper than an equally large alcoholic beverage. It sets a draft bill about protection of health against the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol and other addictive substances published by Ministry of Health. According to Minister Svatopluk Němeček, the draft should be submitted to the legislature process by the end of the year.

In the Czech Republic, where about 30 percent of adults regularly smoke, tobacco use causes over 18,000 deaths every year. Tobacco smoking is the most important risk factor for lung cancer. It causes about 9 out of 10 cases of lung cancer.

As published in the 2013 OECD Health Data average Czech aged 15 years old and over drinks 11.5 liters of pure alcohol annually. That equals about 460 half-liter sized beers or about 115 bottles of wine. While legal age for alcohol consumption in the Czech Republic is 18 years, according to surveys 98% of teenagers aged between 16 -18 have already tried at least one alcoholic drink and 60% of them drinks on regular basis. Two-thirds of Czechs even had their first alcoholic drink before reaching an age of 13.