The number of Czechs who smoke cigarettes daily is on the rise, according to a story in the Prague Daily Monitor citing the latest annual report of the National Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Addiction (NMS).
About 27 percent of Czechs over the age of 15, or 2.4 million people, smoked every day last year. Five years ago, the proportion of daily smokers was 23 percent.
At the same time, more Czechs are said to be drinking alcohol daily.
Last year, about 600,000 people drank alcohol every day and 100,000 of them drank it ‘excessively, consuming five or more glasses’.
NSM head Viktor Mravcik said that middle-aged people rather than young people had accounted for the increase in the number of smokers.
In the case of drinking, however, all age groups had contributed to the increase.
The deaths of nearly 30,000 people a year are attributed to smoking and drinking in the Czech Republic.
The report indicated that about one in three men and one in five women smoke every day, and about 30 percent of them smoke at least a pack of cigarettes a day.
And it said that one fifth of smokers lit a cigarette within five minutes of getting up in the morning.
Mravcik said the numbers of smokers and drinkers had gone up because tobacco and alcohol were easily available in the Czech Republic.
And in the case of smoking, less-risky alternatives were not easily available in the country.
Cigarettes could be bought everywhere even though they represented the most-risky use of nicotine, while the sale of snus was banned in the EU.
At the same time, the risks of electronic cigarettes and other new products were emphasised so much that people viewed them in a distorted way, Mravcik said.
Awareness of the risks should be better so that nicotine addicts could move from classical cigarettes to less risky products, he added.