NEWS

Government unveils stiffer fines for smoking as part of crackdown

PENNY BOULOUTZA

TAGS: Health

Ahead of Tuesday's scheduled launch of a new action plan to crack down on smoking in public places, a joint ministerial decision has stipulated the new range of stiffer penalties that transgressors are to face.

According to the decision, signed by the Finance, Citizens’ Protection, Health and Interior ministries, those caught smoking in closed public places – ranging from health services to offices, bars, restaurants and cafes – will face a fine of 100 euros, double the current penalty.

Those caught smoking in either closed or open areas frequented by children – including schools, creches, parks and sports arenas – will face a penalty of 200 euros, while those caught smoking in a vehicle in which children aged under 12 are passengers will be whacked with a 1,500-euro fine.

Owners or managers of public venues that allow patrons to smoke will face a minimum fine of 500 euros for each violation and will be fined the same sum if they lack “no smoking” signs in their establishment. In the event that they are caught a second time, the penalty will be doubled.

For larger bars and clubs – covering a surface area of more than 100 square meters – fines will start from 2,000 euros – and for those larger than 300 square meters – fines will start from 6,000 euros. The fifth violation will lead to the closure of the offending establishment.

Inspections are to be carried out by mixed teams of the Greek Police, municipal police and local authorities. Meanwhile the Health Ministry is to activate a hotline, 1142, on which citizens can report violations.

According to the joint decision, 40 percent of the revenue collected from the fines is to go the Health Ministry, 30 percent to the Interior Ministry, 20 percent to the Citizens’ Protection Ministry and 5 percent each to the Shipping and Tourism ministries.

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