After five No-Smoking laws in the last decade have been largely ignored by Greeks, who light ‘em up more than any other European country, the government has vowed yet another crackdown and said it will begin stricter checks in public places.
The newspaper Kathimerini said that the Health Ministry’s General Secretary, Christina Papanikolaou has issued a circular calling for the intensification of checks at schools, hospitals, restaurants, bars and nightclubs by inspectors in charge of the implementation of the law introduced in 2010 that was promptly violated almost everywhere with no enforcement.
The new wave of inspections is expected to meet with opposition from entrepreneurs who argue that the smoking ban will affect business amid the ongoing financial crisis, the same arguments they make every time Greece passes alleged smoking bans.
In November 2012, the Council of State ruled that the ban was in keeping with Greek law and the Constitution, after 150 entrepreneurs and the Panhellenic Federation of Restaurants and Related Professions filed an appeal against it.
Despite that, the law continues to be ignored and people who don’t smoke have no recourse when they go into restaurants, clubs, tavernas, summer cinemas and other public places, including hospitals, where people pretty much smoke wherever they want.
Public workers, including those in post offices and government buildings, as well as police, doctors, and bus drivers also smoke without having to worry about being checked or having fines issued against them. Members of Parliament also openly smoke in the building where they passed the ban, ignoring their own law. There was no word on whether inspectors would attempt to stop them, check on them, or fine them at the same time those in other public places could be fined.