15.05.2017 22:43

It is not allowed to smoke in here!

Autor: Radek Krajči | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

The 30th of May will be the last day when people can smoke in a restaurants or bars. No more cigarette smoke when you are watching football on TV, no more cigar and whiskey pairings, no more ignition of lighters and its familiar sound. This is because of anti-smoking law. It will be unpleasant novelty for people who are addicted to smoking and for smoking pubs owners. One of them is Jiří Meluzín, a manager of Beers Monkey restaurant in Brno. “Our restaurant is for smokers for years and this law is against owners free will. We were doing the best for our visitors and we have no choice now,” says Jiří with resigned shrug of the shoulders. And this is problem of many restaurants, bars and pubs in Czech Republic.

Minister for Health Miloslav Ludvík says that is not law against smokers, but it is Health Protection Act. He is glad that children will grow up in society where smoking is not normal. “But who can tell us what is normal and what is not? Is he a God? Or Father of the Nation? No,” manager continues. In the Senate was some disagreement about the law. Twenty senators in the lead with Jaroslav Kubera submit a constitutional complaint. But chances of success are small and therefore restaurants owners have to cope the problem differently. “We will build the smoking area at the garden. People get used to it, but it will be little bit uncomfortable,” he says.

Jiří takes me to restaurant, where he works and shows me the garden. “Here we are preparing a smoking area. Just small place for ten to twelve visitors. In cold weather they will be able to warm up thanks to the air heater, but that’s just a suggestion.” Another managers of bars are not so lucky and they have no place to build a smoking area. “Just like my friend Jakub Šelle from Cohiba Club. It’s a smoking bar, where hotel Continental guests come and drinking a good whiskey and smoking cigar. Club is for richer people who smoking Cuban cigar and this time is coming to an end because the Club hasn’t got a garden,“ he tells me as he reminisce. Guests will have to smoking outside the restaurant where the ashtray will be often. But it seems very inappropriately for smokers and for incoming visitors. Incomings will walk through a cloud of smoke which is not desirable.  

The law come into force in 31th of May which is World No Tobacco Day. President Miloš Zeman, a notorious smoker, signed the anti-smoking bill in the mid-February. The president’s signature makes complete the bill on smoking in indoor areas of restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes, theaters, and cinemas throughout the Czech Republic. An exception are E-cigarettes and hookahs which are still allowed but not in hospitals, schools and shopping centers. The ban also prohibits smoking on travel platforms. “I don’t know where someone can smoke E-cigarettes and where not. Likewise I don’t understand what is penalty for the violation of the ban,” says Jiří Meluzín. But supervisor sees the light side of the ban. “We will don’t have to wash ashtrays anymore and the air in the restaurant will be better,” he thinks.

Contradictory views he also observed with guests. “Smokers are logical more against the ban. Some of them don’t care. For example, it is because of the fragrant clothes after visiting our restauration. But I do not think that people would stop smoking,” said a 35-year-old supervisor from Brno. We found more than fifty smoking restaurants in Brno and hundreds of restaurants where is smoking-room and non-smoking area. Especially small non-stop bars and sport bars will change its essence. This type of pubs is earmarked for people who want to watch sports and sip their beer. And smoking cigarette, of course. “These people will have to change their life style. They settled down into routine of drink and smoke. It will be very difficult for them to get used to,” said Jiří Meluzín and drinks shot of his favourite Vodka.

It is hard times even for tobacco companies. EET (Electronic sales register) and new stamps for tobacco products has an impact on lower cigarette sales. So far, it cannot be estimated how the new law will affect the sale of cigarettes or cigars. The bill certainly doesn’t help to sell. “We are going to buy less cigarettes. The restaurant will be non-smoking and the profit from one sold pack is minimal,” he tells me. The supervisor lights up on of the last cigarette in this restaurant. He looks a little nostalgically at the smoke that rises up. “But I’m not afraid about customers. People love going out to bars and pubs and getting drinks. This will not change,” says at the end.


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