No-butts smoking ban starts in September

As of September 1, Greeks will only be able to smoke outdoors, according to a draft law presented yesterday by the government which bans smoking in bars, restaurants and businesses. In the strictest anti-smoking regulations introduced in the country so far, no smoking will be allowed in public places, which means that bars, clubs and restaurants will not be allowed to have smoking and nonsmoking areas and firms will no longer be able to have smoking rooms on their premises, meaning employees will have to go outside to have a cigarette, as already happens in many European countries. A new smoking ban was launched last summer by the then New Democracy government but a combination of convoluted rules and lack of enforcement meant it did not have a real impact. Now, the PASOK government believes it has struck on a more successful formula to stamp out smoking. The measures announced yesterday, World No Tobacco Day, by Health Minister Mariliza Xenogiannakopoulou make up for «the gaps and contradictions» in the previous law and demonstrate a more «decisive and effective» strategy, she said. Casinos and nightclubs with live music that are more than 300 square meters in size will be given eight months to adjust to the new measures but there will be no other exceptions, the minister said. The measures will be enforced by the police, the municipal police and the coast guard. The size of the fines will be calculated at a later date. Xenogiannakopoulou added that all tobacco advertising would also be banned from September 1. The measures were announced as a new survey by the University of Athens indicated that 37 percent of Greek children aged between 12 and 17 smoke and that 45 percent of those in the 16 to 25 bracket are regular smokers.