Drive to stop youth smoking

The Education and Health ministries are launching a joint initiative aimed at discouraging children from picking up the habit of smoking by informing them early on about the risks associated with nicotine as youth smoking remains at high levels. The campaign, which is being launched ahead of a three-day seminar on smoking due to start in Athens on Thursday, came as official figures showed that 50,000 young Greeks join the ranks of Greece’s smokers each year. «We are investing in the new generation to create a culture that is against addiction,» the general secretary of the Health Ministry, Antonis Dimopoulos, told a press conference. Authorities will press ahead with the enforcement of a ban on smoking in public places introduced in September despite widespread protests by bar and club owners, said Panayiotis Behrakis, the head of a steering committee set up to oversee the enforcement of the restrictions.