Smoking on the wane but ban still flouted


Over the past five years, the number of smokers in Greece has fallen by 9.6 percentage points, according to the results of a recent survey presented on Friday by health experts in Trikala, central Greece.

According to the study conducted by the American College of Greece’s public health institute last July on a sample of 2,054 people aged over 17, 27.1 percent of the population smoked in 2017. Of the respondents questioned, 16.3 percent said they were regular smokers while 10.8 percent claimed to be occasional smokers. Similar research carried out in 2012 found that 36.7 percent of Greeks were smokers. The majority (30.5 percent) said they smoked regularly, with only 6.2 percent saying they did so occasionally.

The findings of last year’s survey were presented on Friday by Panayiotis Behrakis, chairman of the National Steering Committee for Tobacco Control. He said tobacco consumption has fallen 49 percent over the past 10 years, from 35.1 billion cigarettes in 2007 to 17.9 billion in 2016.

Most of the respondents in last year’s survey also expressed frustration at the non-enforcement of a ban on smoking in indoor public spaces. First introduced in 2010 to bring Greece into line with European anti-smoking legislation, the ban is widely flouted. Almost all respondents (96.6 percent) said they had been in a public indoor space where the smoking ban was flouted while 74.2 percent of them said this annoyed them.