Youngsters reach for cigarettes

Greeks smoke their first cigarette on average when they are 11.5 years old, according to the Thorax Foundation, whose director Haralambos Roussos told Sunday’s Kathimerini that one in two teenage smokers would eventually die from the habit. Speaking ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Wednesday, Roussos said that 52 percent of Greek men and 32 percent of Greek women are smokers. The number of smokers in Greece has risen by 10 percent over the last decade. Roussos said more must be done to turn teenagers in particular away from smoking. «Cigarettes are very cheap in Greece and are on sale almost everywhere,» he said, recommending that tobacco advertising be banned and that firms face more legal action. Despite the rise in teenage smoking, Roussos said that a growing number of Greek adults are trying to find out more about how to kick the habit from specialized centers. «We are still at the beginning and we hope more medicine [to help smokers quit] will be developed in the future,» he said.