NEWS

‘Wretched’ smoker’s call to quit

Renewing calls that have so far fallen on the deaf ears of the European Union’s heaviest smokers, Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis yesterday urged Greeks to stub out their cigarettes. «Quit smoking, if you want to live in strength,» Kaklamanis said during a press conference yesterday ahead of Monday’s World No Tobacco Day. But the minister, a doctor who has specialized in radiology and oncology, admitted that this advice was coming from the lips of «a wretched smoker.» Kaklamanis conceded that a string of measures against smoking in public places introduced two years ago have to a great extent been ignored, adding that the ministry can only carry out inspections within the area of its own jurisdiction. However, he said, the best course of action would be to boost public awareness of the dangers of smoking, starting with schoolchildren in the first year of primary school. «Bans can achieve very little,» he argued. Some 45 percent of all Greece are self-declared regular smokers.