European commissioner outraged at official disregard for smoking ban


European Commissioner for Health Vytenis Andriukaitis on Monday expressed outrage at the disregard for legislation banning smoking in public displayed by Greek authorities.

Speaking on the sidelines of an event marking World Cancer Day at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center on Athens's southern coast on Monday, Andriukaitis said that he had been shocked to smell cigarette smoke in the halls and offices of the country's Health Ministry during a visit earlier in the day.

“It's shameful,” Andriukaitis added, commenting on a photograph from 2016 showing Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis smoking during a press conference.

“Whether someone smokes or not is not a question of freedom of choice. When it takes place in a public space, it's about human rights, because the people around him have the right to breathe fresh air,” the European commissioner said.