Smokers’ pain is our gain

Professor Eftychios Voridis has expressed reservations about stricter measures against smoking. «Smoking is one of the most basic causes of heart, lung and arterial disease, and we have repeatedly said this. Whoever smokes has decided to ignore the dangers, either because they’re addicted, or because, whether we like it or not, smoking is a pleasure. From there on, to turn against smokers in such a relentless fashion is something unfair. «There is the argument that passive smoking is harmful. Leaving that aside, I will accept that for the non-smoker, even the smell of cigarettes is incredibly unpleasant. From this point of view it is a matter of basic courtesy, where smokers and non-smokers find themselves gathered in the same place, for the former to ask for permission to smoke.» He finds it logical that smoking is banned in public buildings, where all categories of people gather. But «smokers are accused of being a burden on society, of falling sick and needing frequent hospitalization. But the other side of things is that cigarettes are taxed to such an extent – 80 percent of their price is various taxes – that surely non-smokers all gain from smokers.» Statistically speaking, he pointed out, smokers lose 6.5 years off the end of their lives. «Which means they make contributions but don’t get anything in return.» «I am concerned about exaggeration, because the consequences could be quite serious,» he added. If cigarettes were banned, he said, the consequences would be similar to those of the Prohibition era or the relentless persecution of drug addicts. «They should give them (the drug addicts) needles at least, so that they don’t get hepatitis and AIDS. Since they openly say they’re drug addicts, what does it matter if they are supplied with drugs, in a pure form in the correct dosage? Now, most are poisoned and die.»

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