Greeks, who are among the heaviest smokers in the world, will be obliged to curb their smoking habits and desires from July 1st 2009, as smoking will be prohibited in all public places in Greece.
The law was supposed to come into force on January 1st 2010, but its implementation was speeded up in order to “ease” the population into these measures, since during summer most Greeks prefer sitting in open air spaces, cafés and bars.
From July 1st 2009 Greeks and tourists will be able to smoke in specific sealed-off areas inside restaurants, clubs and bars that are over 70 square metres.
The suggestion for these sealed off areas within the public places was made by the introducer of the anti-smoking law, Polykarpos Adamidis.
Based on these suggestions, the interior smoking areas will be isolated from the rest of the smoke-free venue, featuring a different entrance or any other specifications according to particular architectural studies.
These smoking areas should be less than 40% of the overall surface area of each bar or restaurant. According to the same suggestion, the overall surface area of the public place will be measured based on the actual customer area, without taking under consideration the kitchen area, storage rooms or any other supporting facilities.
Owners of bars and restaurants smaller than 70sq meters will have to declare by the end of June, whether their venue will be exclusively smoking or non-smoking.
No exceptions in the smoking ban in Greece
Both Minister of Health, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and P. Adamidis denoted that the new laws will be enforced without any exceptions or loopholes. Greeks are heavy smokers and tend to ignore laws that they don’t like, although this time the government and the officials indicate that they are ready to enforce the law under any cost.
It is not the first time that Greece sees anti-smoking laws; a few years ago anti smoking laws passed, prohibiting smoking in hospitals and other areas of public health. Although the smoking ban will be implemented now, the law will be tested mostly in fall and winter, when Greeks will return indoors.
Greeks approve the anti – smoking measures
According to the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine as well as several researches and polls that took place in Greece, six out of ten smokers think that the ban is indeed positive and should be enforced, while approximately 95% of the non smokers consider the measures positive. 72% of the population thinks that measures and fees should be stricter, allowing the law to be imposed more effectively.