Slovakia and its failure to abide by the European law

Slovakia EU 2018.jpg

From left to right: Mr Peter PELLEGRINI, Slovak Prime Minister; Mr Donald TUSK, President of the European Council. Copyright: European Union

This article was exclusively written for the The European Sting by Ms. Barbara Čolláková, a fourth-year medical student at the Pavol Jozef Safarik
University in Kosice
. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


“Oh no.” My friend says as we stand at a public tram stop and a second later, I can see two police officers walking down the street. The cigarette in my friend’s hand disappears at the speed of light.

Nothing about this scene surprises me.

Slovakia banned smokers from public spaces with an anti-tobacco law established in 2004. With the protection of non-smokers in mind, the legislation was updated in the year 2009 when most public buildings including restaurants and other food-serving establishments were forced to create a non-smoking zone or ban from smoking completely. The transition happened rather slowly. There was an abundance of restaurants and pubs that tried to get around the law with fabric curtains and other ineffective equipment.

Thankfully, it seems that all of that is in the past. Slovakia has become a safe place when it comes to enjoying a nice dinner out in the city without secondhand tobacco smoke.

However, there is still a long way to go until it will be possible to exit a bus and breathe in a clean fresh air.  According to European health interview survey from 2014, total number of smokers in Slovakia reached 22.6%, which is among the highest out of European Union countries.

Apart from these high numbers, why is it so easy for Slovaks to ignore the law and continue smoking outside as they please?

The answers vary depending on the point of view. As a medical student, surrounded by smokers that are health care professionals and very much aware of the risks associated with cigarette abuse, I would be rather cautious to say that the anti-smoking campaigns should be even more aggressive and that the population is not educated enough.

It is important to make the information about health risks and diseases available to the public, yes. But what solution is there when even the most educated health care workers themselves ignore the no-smoking signs?

As for Slovakia, I strongly believe it is the mentality of people that keeps the country stuck. The rejection of change of any kind and blind belief that the old way is the right way is what keeps plenty of people believing that they don’t have to be considerate to others or even their own health simply because that’s how they’ve always done it.

It is a task for all young people in Slovakia to challenge those views and demand that the law is taken seriously. As of now, however, I don’t have much hope for that happening. The threat of financial fine is a joke to most, which only serves to show how Slovakia mostly fails at executing the European law.

About the author

My name is Barbara Čolláková and I am a fourth-year medical student at the Pavol Jozef Safarik University in Kosice. I’m a member of my local national medical students’ organization SloMSA in Kosice and I have been actively engaged in our public health division. As a multilingual student, I have both worked and studied internationally and I hope to continue my career in the field of Cardiology. I’m very passionate about global health issues, politics and human rights.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

G20 starts to tackle inequality

This UK footballer just won free school meals for kids in the summer holidays

UN chief hopeful for Libya, after Quartet meeting in Tunis

Lithuania finds the ways to maintain its energy security

Climate change could be making forests shorter – this is how

Why carbon capture could be the game-changer the world needs

Covid-19 crisis shows supply chains need to embrace new technologies

Greece @ MWC14: Greek-born mobile champions at MWC 2014

Can we crack the hydrogen puzzle this time around?

The von der Leyen Commission: for a Union that strives for more

Is our brave new world about to burst?

More women in Latin America are working, but gender gap persists, new UN figures show

What the car industry has done to help fight climate change – and what it needs to do next

Only a few months away from the single European patent space

How the gender commuting gap could be harming women’s careers

Simple Technology Saving Lives: Remote Auscultation

How technology is driving a fourth wave of environmentalism

Why we need to solve our quantum security challenges

State aid: Commission approves Danish public financing of Fehmarn Belt fixed rail-road link

Home or office? Survey shows opinions about work after COVID-19

How AI is serving up aces at Wimbledon – and what the technology means for the future of sport

A lack of affordable homes is forcing young Britons to live with their parents

The benefits of a cashless society

Mergers: Commission refers acquisition of newly created joint venture by Telefónica and Liberty Global to the UK competition authority

In Tunisia, budding entrepreneurs can take a year off their job

This South Korean city once had the biggest coronavirus outbreak outside of China. Now it’s reported zero new cases

8 top stories from the week in Davos 2020

This is how much data we’re using on our phones

Palliative care and health coverage: informing is also universalizing

Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

MEPs call for new EU strategy to promote democracy in Russia

Russia is ready for its Phase 3 evaluation once it fulfills high-priority recommendation

Budget MEPs approve €104.2 m in EU aid to Greece, Spain, France and Portugal

What has COVID-19 taught us about decarbonized electricity grids?

The technologies – and thoughtful collaborations – that can build resilience in the food system after COVID-19

Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) of 22/05/2018: EU relations with key trading partners

Geopolitics and investment in emerging markets after COVID-19

Globally, youth are the largest poverty-stricken group, says new UN report

The UN’s unyielding effort to tackle sexual abuse and exploitation: our quarterly update

UN condemns Syrian ‘war on children’ as up to 30 reportedly killed in clashes

Road use charges: reforms aim to improve fairness and environmental protection

The EU’s Response to COVID-19

Nearly a third of the globe is now on Facebook – chart of the day

October’s EU strong digital mix: From Safe Harbour to Net Neutrality, Roaming and Snowden

Afghanistan: Civilian casualties caused by IEDs has reached ‘extreme levels’, UN warns

What is the biggest benefit technology will have on ageing and longevity?

After the George Floyd protests, what next for racial justice in the US?

How businesses can help solve society’s workforce problems

European Union: From financial consolidation to deeper political division

Why gin made from peas helps the environment

‘Severe’ new US asylum restrictions will put vulnerable families at risk, UN refugee agency says

MEPs demand safe and clean travel

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

Q&A on extraordinary remote participation procedure

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Big tech cannot crack down on online hate alone. We need to fund the smaller players

Governments and non-state actors need to take urgent action to meet Paris Agreement goals

Security Council should ‘nurture’ Colombian consensus against return to violence, top UN official urges

Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage: how to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care in UHC

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: