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Opposition party stamps out smoking reform

A proposal for a complete smoking ban in the hospitality businesses doesn’t catch fire in Parliament.

By BOHEMIST STAFF

PRAGUE – The long-debated smoking reform bill was dealt a swift veto in yesterday’s parliamentary session. Opposition parties ODS and Top 09 quickly clamped down on the proposed reform bill, which was on its maiden first reading.

The bill proposed a complete ban on smoking in all bars, restaurants and cafes, meaning no smoking areas within the establishment would be permitted. The ban also restricts cinemas, theaters, concert and exhibition halls and sports halls from providing smoking areas and extends the smoking ban at tram stops to a greater area. The law aimed to also prohibit smoking in any public gardens.

The law has had a shaky road to parliament, as reported by local media. Parliament had to initially vote three times due to disputed votes and failures to attain a majority in respect of even hearing the law in the first place.

The widespread smoking ban would likely come as a relief to many parents in Prague (and those who hate having to wash all their clothes after even an hour at a smoky bar). But this latest veto sets it back to square one.

A medical committee will be called to discuss smoking norms within the next month.

One parliamentarian was quoted in iDnes.cz effectively capturing the vibe of parliament, “Smoking is demonstrably harmful to health. It is normal not to smoke, but it is normal to smoke too.”

The smoking reform bill also attempts to tighten a grip on alcoholic beverage sales. The original incarnation of the bill stated that no alcohol could be sold at sporting events that were primarily for children. This was later changed to demand that if draft beer was to be sold at these events, wine should be sold also.

Controversially, the bill, if passed, would also require that the cheapest drink on any menu be non-alcoholic. Zlatopramen is reportedly super pissed at this.

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