Czech Government Plans to Tackle Youth Smoking with Higher Prices and Ad Regulations

The Czech government is taking action against youth smoking by proposing significantly raising the prices of alternative tobacco products and regulating their advertising. One in five students between the ages of 13 and 15 use tobacco products, despite their harmful effects. The government plans to implement these measures from the start of the new year and launch a prevention campaign.

These alternative tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products, are still a significant problem in the country, despite the existing ban on sales to those under 18. The World Health Organization has recommended that these products be banned until there is evidence of their lower harm, or at least regulated in the same way as traditional tobacco products.

While the government’s plan includes higher prices, it also aims to regulate advertising, focusing on the appearance of these products. “We have already prepared a new decree banning the sale of nicotine sachets to minors under 18. We take it as a priority,” said Ondřej Jakob, the Ministry of Health spokesperson.

Czech politicians are also drawing up a bill to provide better protection for children from addictive substances. The bill would focus on minimizing risks, educating and motivating treatment, and restricting advertising and promotion by YouTubers and influencers.

However, some lawmakers believe these measures alone are insufficient to tackle the issue. “We need to provide objective information to children at school about the harmful effects of nicotine and other dependencies,” said Jakub Michálek, chairman of the Pirate Party’s parliamentary group. “Prevention and communication of information about the enormous harm of these products are essential to us,” added Jakob.

The Czech government’s efforts to tackle youth smoking are a step in the right direction, but more needs to be done. By educating young people about the dangers of these products and restricting their access, the country can make progress in reducing the number of young smokers and ensuring a healthier future for its citizens.