Czech MPs Pass Historic Anti-Smoking Bill

After failing earlier this year, Czech officials have finally approved anti-smoking legislation that could take effect from May

Second, third… well, the fourth time seems to be the charm.

Earlier this year, Czech MPs failed to approve historic anti-smoking legislation after it was weighed down by excessive amendments, which included the possibility of having smoking zones in pubs and restaurants.

On Friday morning, however, they passed a bill that would completely ban smoking throughout the country’s pubs and restaurants, reports

The bill could take effect from next May, to coincide with World No Tobacco Day on May 31.

The ban is total: while opposition ODS pushed for amendments to include the ability for venues to set up separate smoking rooms, or for restaurants of a certain size to choose whether to be smoking or non-smoking, they were ultimately outvoted.

In total, 118 of the 163 MPs present approved the bill, which is even stricter than measures that failed to pass in May.

Original proposals also included a measure that would require pubs and restaurants to have a non-alcoholic beverage on the menu that is less expensive that the cheapest alcoholic option, but this was jettisoned to garner wider support. 

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There are two exceptions to the new legislation, writes Česká televize: teahouses will still be able to offer tobacco-filled hookahs (water pipes), and smoking will be allowed in outdoor garden areas. 

Electronic cigarettes would also appear to be exempt from the new legislation. 

To take effect, however, the bill still needs to be approved by the Senate and signed off by Czech president Miloš Zeman, an avid smoker who has been an outspoken opponent of such measures in the past. 

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