E-smokes next in line for ban

As electronic cigarettes are embraced by smokers trying to kick the habit or to abide by a ban on smoking in public places, the Health Ministry is reportedly planning to forbid the trade and use of the electrical device, noting that it contains nicotine and remains a health risk.

The ministry?s general secretary, Antonis Dimopoulos, said on Thursday that the e-cigarette continues to be sold in pharmacies even though it lacks the approval of the National Organization for Medicines (EOF).

In the meantime, the Health and Finance ministries have been coming under pressure to increase the price of cigarettes by 20 percent or further hike the tax on tobacco products as a disincentive to smokers but also as a way of boosting much-needed revenue.

According to the president of the National Coordinating Committee against Smoking, Panayiotis Behrakis, increasing the price of tobacco products by 2 euros would bring in an additional 440 million euros in taxes per year and reduce the number of smokers by 460,000.

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