NEWS

Health Ministry sends memo imposing smoking ban in public areas

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Regional authorities across Greece on Monday received detailed instructions on the strict implementation of a smoking ban that formally went into force more than a decade ago but has been largely flouted ever since.

Signed by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, the memo is a reminder to authorities of the government's intention to impose, to the letter, a 2008 law banning smoking in all indoor public spaces.

Apart from all state, government, local, medical, educational and childcare services, the ban also includes sports arenas, all indoor bars, restaurants and cafes – where the law tends to be flouted blatantly – work areas, airports (with the exception of specially designated smoking rooms), passenger waiting areas, public transportation and taxis. It also bans smoking in vehicles, whether public or private, in which there are children under the age of 12.

The center-right government announced its intention to crack down on smoking in public areas as one of its first orders of business after being elected on July 7, saying that it will be enlisting the services of the police to ensure that the ban is upheld.