Hugs for health in campaign

The Health Ministry launched a campaign yesterday to encourage Greeks to focus on preventing illness, especially cancer, in a bid to improve the country’s health and fight rising healthcare costs. Newspaper, radio and TV advertisements will urge people to lead healthy lives and avoid developing problems which will require medical treatment such as obesity, alcoholism, tobacco and drug addiction, diabetes and hypertension. Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos also outlined a high-profile scheme to prevent the spread of cancer. Using the title «I hug,» the campaign will feature political, entertainment and sports personalities as well as ordinary residents hugging each other. «The fight against cancer is something that is relevant to all of us,» said Avramopoulos. Although deaths from throat and lung cancer have been declining in Greece over the last few years, the number of smokers has risen. The National Statistics Service said in May that almost 42 percent of Greeks over 14 years old smoke.