Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Greece, Europe’s Heaviest Smoking Nation, Opposes Planned Cigarette Ban   
1 April 2009 | About a third of the population of Greece, which is Europe’s heaviest smoking nation, do not agree with the planned ban on cigarettes in public places, according to recently released data.

Shortly before the ban enters into force in the country, three out of ten Greeks say they disagree with such measures in bars and night venues, the Elevteros Tipos newspaper wrote today, while 23 per cent oppose the ban on smoking in restaurants.

Greece is again in first place in Europe regarding the number of systematic smokers, which reaches 42 per cent of the population, according to an Eurobarometer poll cited by the publication. As a comparison, the average percent for the EU is 31 per cent.

Greece is also a leader when it comes to passive smoking – with 60 per cent of Greeks being exposed to second-hand smoke at their work place for two hours per day and 30 per cent – at home.

The total ban on smoking in public and private places is expected to enter into force in July. A total of 62 per cent of Greeks say that there are currently no such restrictions at their work place.

It seems that with the ban’s imminent entry, Greeks are growing more opposed to it. As reported last June, eight out of 10 people at that time did not view the imminent ban as an infringement on personal rights and over 70 per cent said that national government policy should target the reduction of smoking.

The upcoming prohibition in Greece is part of a Europe-wide initiative to curb the habit. A wave of anti-smoking bans swept across Western Europe – Ireland was the first European country to forbid smoking in public places in 2004, shortly followed by Norway in the same year and Italy in 2005. England introduced a ban in 2007. In France and Germany, smoking in public places started to be prohibited on the first day of 2008.

The Balkans, as with other issues, are much slower and more reluctant to jump on this bandwagon. Though most of the states in the region have partial smoking bans, which prohibit cigarettes in places such as hospitals, schools and administrative buildings, for the most part they are largely ignored and rarely enforced, as are requirements to have separate smoking and non-smoking sections in bars, cafés and restaurants.

Not so in Turkey, however, where a ban on smoking in public places was introduced in May of 2008, as reported. Even though the country has among the highest rates of smokers in the world – nearly half of its 25-million population, the prohibition seems to be successfully enforced and respected.

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