Laws must not go up in smoke

The government’s announcement yesterday that the law against smoking in enclosed public spaces will remain in the form that it is today – which puts paid to a recent statement that some establishments like bars and nightclubs that do not serve food could be able to purchase a special smoking license – was the right way to go. However, if those in power really want the law to be respected, they need to start with imposing it, as the ban has already been undermined by the government’s lax stance in the first few months after it was voted through Parliament. For the smoking ban to be imposed properly, moreover, the government will have to ensure the cooperation of all the authorities involved, from the local level all the way up to the Health Ministry. They will need to launch a coordinated effort and remain on the same page. If this law is flouted as well, it will simply lend credence to the widespread belief that people can do as they like because laws exist only on paper in Greece and they will suffer no penalties.