Health going up in puffs of smoke

Over 20,000 Greeks die each year of diseases related to smoking and many heart attack victims who continue to smoke are running the same risk, according to research carried out by the Hellenic Cardiological Society (HCS). With four out of 10 citizens declaring themselves to be smokers and the average smoker lighting up 3,000 cigarettes per year, Greece remains one of the world’s largest consumers of tobacco, experts warned yesterday ahead of World No Tobacco Day on Saturday. According to new research, smokers who have suffered a heart attack and continue to smoke risk suffering a fatal heart attack within a decade if they do not kick the habit. A study carried out by Athens’s Attikon University Hospital on 200 Greeks aged up to 36 who had suffered a heart attack found that they would be three times more likely to suffer another heart attack within the next 10 years. Dimitris Kremastinos, head of HCS, said a full crackdown on smoking in public places would help. He cited the example of Rome, where heart attacks have fallen 15 percent since a ban was imposed in 2005. Experts welcomed government plans to impose a full ban on smoking in all closed public spaces by 2010, noting it was «better late than never.»