Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government has recently introduced a string of measures to curb smoking habits, including a ban on smoking in public spaces. Their impact, however, remains uneven.
Number of Czech smokers increases in 2018
According to the data (in Czech) from the National Public Health Institute, more than one in four Czechs (28.5%) were considered as smokers last year, a 3-percentage-point increase from 2017: more than 21% of Czechs were regular smokers and roughly 7% of the population identified as occasional smokers.
The record-high in the last few years was reached in 2014, when more than 31% of Czechs were smokers, according to figures from the National Public Health Institute.
As is the case in most European countries, the share of smokers among Czech men (35%) is significantly higher than among women (23%).
In 2018, a vast majority of the Czech population (71%) didn’t smoke: 54% of Czechs said they never smoked in their life, while 17% of them are former smokers who stopped, according to the Czech Public Health Institute.
Share of young smokers decreases in the Czech Republic
More than one third of people aged 25 to 44 were smokers (35%, +8 percentage points compared to 2017), compared to slightly less among the 45-64 age group (30%, +4 percentage points).
Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of teenagers and young adults (aged from 15 to 24 years old) were smokers last year (27%). Although still high compared to other EU countries, it’s a significant drop compared to 2017, when nearly 36% of Czech youth smoked.
Czech Republic introduces string of measures to curb smoking
But according to Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch, the smoking ban, introduced in 2017 and making it illegal to smoke inside pubs, bars and restaurants, has had an overall positive impact on public health, with fewer people hospitalized for smoking-related diseases like heart attacks or asthma. It remains, however, too soon to assess the the impact of the ban of cancers, according to experts.
A few days ago, the Czech government also approved a higher tax on cigarettes and other tobacco-related products, that should come into effect next year if approved by Parliament and signed by the president. The new tax is expected to increase the price of cigarettes packs by roughly 10 Kc.