Greece is failing to enforce smoking bans despite apparent public support for the legislation, the Hellenic Thoracic Society (HTS) said Thursday, appealing to the government to crack down on violations.
Speaking at an event ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, HTS president Michalis Toumpis, said the number of smokers in Greece appears to be declining steadily, with Eurostat’s most recent study putting regular tobacco users at 27.3 percent. However, Toumpis stressed, seven in 10 Greeks told the European Union’s statistics agency that they have been regularly exposed to others’ tobacco smoke when visiting bars, restaurants and cafes – where smoking is supposed to be prohibited.
“That 74 percent of nonsmokers are angry about the situation, which means that the population is ready to accept the enforcement of the measures,” said Toumpis.
Greece was among the first of 186 nations that signed the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which entered into force in 2005.
Toumpis hailed the fact that 75 percent of the retail cost of tobacco in Greece goes toward taxes, saying that “quite a few people come to smoking cessation clinics because they can’t afford to keep up the habit.”
Greece has some 50 such clinics, which have provided treatment and support to more than 300,000 smokers since they first opened in 2000.