The Czech Republic ratified the convention after eight years of delays as the last EU member.
The convention is valid in 173 countries and in the EU as the 174th participant.
“The presidential signature has closed the eight-year ratification process that started on December 22, 2004 when the Czech government approved the ratification proposal,” the ministry said.
The goal of the convention is to reduce tobacco consumption and protect the health of the present and future generations.
It reacts to the globalisation of the tobacco market and its marketing tools. It places an emphasis on measures reducing the demand, such as a higher taxation of tobacco products, prevention of smuggling, ban on sales of tobacco to underage persons and people’s protection from tobacco smoke in public places.
Czech Health Minister Leos Heger (TOP 09) said he considers cooperation between states a necessary precondition for coping with “the tobacco problem.”
“Tobacco consumption is considered the most serious cause of deaths and chronic non-infectious diseases, which can be averted by prevention. People’s health is harmed by both tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke,” Heger said.
By ratifying the convention, the Czech Republic has advanced from the position of an observer to the position of an active player who can influence further development of the convention and the international commitments related to tobacco control, Heger said.
He said the Czech Republic’s position and prestige in the EU will improve in this connection. As a result, Prague will attain a better position in negotiations influencing the EU legislation, he added.
Heger said his ministry is preparing an amendment to the law on measures of protection from damage caused by tobacco products, alcohol and other addictive substances.
“Our goal is to enhance the protection of non-smokers against passive smoking and improve the law’s enforceability,” Heger said.