2004’s fine line on smoking

Athens 2004 is aiming for a non-smoking Games, the Olympic organizers said yesterday, but, this being Greece – the home of manic smokers – they also stressed that they want smokers to be happy and will set aside special smoking areas. «The aim of Athens 2004 is to hold a non-smoking Games, but without disturbing the fine balance between the rights of smokers and non-smokers,» the organizers said. The statement added that a non-smoking policy has applied since the 1992 Barcelona Games «without meeting resistance from any participants in the Olympics, in any capacity.» Therefore, smoking will be banned at all competition and non-competition venues (including the media center), bleachers and auxiliary areas. «However, smoking areas will be set aside at all facilities, which will meet all fire safety requirements and health regulations (such as being far from eating areas). The smoking areas will have the necessary infrastructure to host smokers, such as being in a shady area with chairs and tables and being near refreshment areas,» Athens 2004 said.