Greece Says Smoking Ban To Start

Smoking CopAfter 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.



  1. Smoking is well established to dramatically shorted lifespans. Every smoker is thus behaving irrationally by smoking. Facts do no matter to those behaving irrationally because they are addicted and will use all sorts of lame excuses to avoid quitting. The main way to get Greeks to stop smoking is through financial penalties that are enforced. Hit them in their pocketbooks if since will not listen to reason. 

    Raising taxes on ciggerates helps but making them too high much like narcotics only creates a black market. The government cannot make the price point high enough to make it a serious disincentive to not smoke. While smoking laws help they too can be ignored because there is not enough resources to police it.

    That could all change if Greece hired private companies to enforce smoking bans with big fines in exchange for a cut.  (somewhat like private parking enforcement) The private companies would have great economic incentive to crack down on as many that violated the law as possible because it would translate into dollars in their pocket (that the smokers themselves, rather than taxpayers, would funding through fines). It would both create jobs and at the same time improve the health of Greeks.

    Another law that could not be ignored is an introduction of additional medical user fees for smokers.  (since the end up burdening the health care system with their smoking). Hammer smokers with much higher prices for healthcare.

    If we did only these two things there would be a great reduction in smoking in Greece.

  2. Smoking is a serious problem especially when we have one of the highest smoking percentages in the world.  It seems like everyone else can see that smoking is bad for you but not in Greece. I remember going to get a coffee in athens and sitting down and a few doctors from a nearby hospital came in and they all were smoking.  Its hard to enforce something when so many people are smoking and the worst is all these young people are smoking.  Its like Greeks need to realize its not 1955 anymore.  Smoking isn’t cool.

  3. The government has many and more serious items to consider!  Is the life span of Greeks shorter because of their smoking?  I hear that it is not due to the Mediterranean diet.  The sad part is the young people who still smoke even though they should know better.  It is a matter of education and not taxation as the taxation has been going on for quite a while.  Also, I would love to know if cigarette consumption has gone down now that people have less expendable income.

  4. Places that want to ban smoking should be allowed to do so, and places that want to allow smoking should be allowed to do so!  That is the democratic way, is it not?

  5. Hope this little piece of bureaucratic energy doesn’t cost much because GREEKS will never quit smoking…EVER…especially if they are told they have to.

  6. So where will folks go to be smoke free as every Greek will opt for ‘allow smoking’ in their establishments. BUT smoking bans should and MUST be enforced in public places, especially schools , hospitals, banks , government offices etc.

  7. I lived in Greece for ages and now stay in touch with my friends via FB. The people who still smoke, especially the women, have ‘that’ look of dry skin and premature aging…makes me wonder what the insides look like

  8. In the winter, when weather prohibits al fresco dining, just try to find a taverna where its possible to enjoy a meal in a non smoking environment. Ain’t gonna happen!

  9. I despise smoking.

    I despise smoking police even more.

    Think about this, Greece can afford  “inspectors” to run around in their little inspector cars checking up on smokers. That has to be the ULTIMATE waste of money, never mind the idea of “smoking police”.  

    Oh wait, Greece specializes in wasting money……just lend us some and watch.

  10.  Yes, I know many people who have given up because the cost of cigarettes has gone up and they can no longer afford it. Shop keepers say the same, they are selling less now.

  11. Oh well, if you are depending on Kathimerini for your news then it is no wonder this article is an exaggeration, they are hardly a reliable source for accurate information. It has been 4 years at least since I have seen anyone smoke in public buildings like schools, dentists, hospitals and medical facilities, banks and government offices. Anyone who wants to smoke stands outside to do so.

    Night clubs, restaurants, kafenea are a different matter, but if there is a no smoking sign displayed it will be respected more often than not. However most owners realise that their business would drop if they encouraged no smoking so are largely tolerant.

  12. Now, amidst all the stress, it is inappropriate to introduce a smoking ban. I don’t smoke and I don’t like breathing other people’s smoke in, but this will do us no good. Not now.

  13. Why cant we just ban politicians in parliment. Take way their pensions and salaries and throw out the Skata one and for all.

  14. Greek government tactics to divert people’s attention from the real issues to cause confusion…

  15. More FRAUD & FARCE from this absurd phony Coaltion government of Thieves & Liars.
    It is a waste of time and money sending Inspectors out to put more harsh measures on Bars, etc.
    What a joke Pasok and ND are who are unbelieveably STUPID and arrogant.

    Why aren’t they asking for REAL Justice, like why Akis Tzahadsopolus hasn’t had a trial yet after a year in “so-called” jail?    

  16. Seriously, how many of us who aren’t members of the political class can still afford to smoke?
    I for one am considering exchanging nicotine for jenkem

  17. More FRAUD & FARCE from this absurd phony Coaltion government of Thieves & Liars.It is a waste of time and money sending Inspectors out to put more harsh measures on Bars, etc.What a joke Pasok and ND are who are unbelieveably STUPID and arrogant.

    Why aren’t they asking for REAL Justice, like why Akis Tzahadsopolus hasn’t had a trial yet after a year in “so-called” jail?

  18. ·                                
    More FRAUD & FARCE
    from this absurd phony Coalition government of Thieves & Liars.
    It is a waste of time and money sending Inspectors out to put more harsh
    measures on Bars, etc.
    What a joke Pasok and ND are who are unbelievably STUPID and arrogant.

    Why aren’t they asking for REAL Justice, like why Akis Tzahadsopolus
    hasn’t had a trial yet after a year in “so-called” jail?

  19. Actually since we have too many government workers, we don’t have to worry about hiring anyone.  This is a revenue generator.  Go to a business and see smoking write up a $500 ticket, next offense double, then keep on doubling it after that.  They will get the message fast.

  20. Greeks say they are EUROPEAN THIS PROVES THEY ARE NOT THIS IS WHAT arabs would do Greece is like the Arab countries smoke were ever you want Greece is more middle eastern or more Arab then european

  21. Hey Mr. PhD You of couse wouldn’t know anything about force constantly ranting in support of terrorism. And of course you wouldn’t know anything about fraud Worldarts.

  22.  Huh? How private industry doing the job on behalf of the government is “vigilantes” now? You really are a kook.

    Dude, didn’t you claim to be German? Are you Greek today? You really should get your stories straight.

  23.  Dude, didn’t you claim to be German? Are you Greek today? You really should get your stories straight.

  24. Didn’t you claim to be German? Are you Greek today? You really should get your stories straight.

  25. You would know all about force and fraud considering you constantly cheer in support of terrorism against a democratically elected government Mr. PhD… aka Worldarts.

  26.  Hey its Sal who claims to be “Greek” communist… yet keeps trying to suggest Greeks are Arabs” and running to the defense of muslims. Is your family Arab Sal? Or perhaps a Skopian? It would explain your comments quite a bit.

  27. Private enterprise smoking police… funded by fines of smokers themselves… would cost the greek taxpayer nothing.

  28. You constantly complain about the government (like our pal Worldarts PhD) but what is your solution Maverik?

  29. I would note both the Skopians and their communists supporters want us to undermine our current government in the hopes Syriza wins the next election. (who will then proceed to treasonously recognize FYROM). We undermine our own country by undermining Samaras.

  30. Doesn’t private industry do all sorts of other things for the government already? Arguing some people would resort to terrorism in response to laws being enforced is an argument in favour of terrorism.

  31. Of course they can quit. Much of the rest of the world is quitting. Only a matter of time before the same is true of Greece. While smoking should be legal, if there was ever something to tax and regulate, smokers would be high in the list

    Smokers are behaving irrationally because they are addicted. In addition, they not only harm their own health with their filfthy disgusting habit but others through second hand smoke. (as well as spin off costs in additional health care).

  32.  No. It’s me. I constantly rush to defend leftists on this website but I claim to support Golden Dawn

  33. “I remember going to get a coffee in athens and sitting down and a few
    doctors from a nearby hospital came in and they all were smoking.”

    This sums it up.  The only way they are going to quit in large numbers if there are financial penalties. Raising taxes too high only encourages a black market. We do not have the funds to enforce an smoking ban (which will fail like like last time because of this).

    The most effective route would be private for-profit enforcement (which would cost our government nothing and actually provide a little revenue). I don’t believe there is the political will for this though . Greeks tend to be followers rather than leaders today. The idea of innovation is virtually unheard of it Greece.

  34. There are many theories about what exactly is beneficial about mediterrian diet. Olive oil, fish, red wine, and vegetables which a common part of many Greeks diet seems to almost… almost.. make up for the smoking, terrible driving and geography near the third world (many illegals flooding Greece bring diseases with them). If it wasn’t for smoking and driving I’m almost certain Greece would have one of the highest life expectancy’s in the world.

  35.  The problem is if out government does it… it will quickly turn into a scam where government employees are pocketing money. If we let private companies do it though it will be there problem to deal with.

    Its a simply thing to do, Just put out a tender to any private companies that want to go out and take a picture and hand a ticket to the offender. If the fine is $500, give 250 to the private company and take 250 for the government once the smoker pays. The government’s 250 could be used to handle any court costs associated with appeals (and any appeals that don’t win get additional fines levied to cover any shortfalls). 

    And the smoker doesn’t want to pay, put their photograph on a website, with the time and date of the offence, and affidavit by the person and company that took the picture,  both shaming them as deadbeat law breakers and offering a reward for information to their names and addresses. (the amount to be later paid by additional fines to the smoker that tried to evade the law)

    Our far leftist and anarchist morons would of course ridiculously try to analogize  smoking bans to “fascism” as they typically do with everything else …but in the end if there is a profit to be made it should work. There is great incentive for the private companies to catch smokers if they can profit by it.  

    Unfortunately Greece is left and further left. Business and innovation are like curse words to many Greeks. Our leftists and anarchists want money but they irrationally constantly argue against the businesses that create wealth.

  36. By “us”  I mean me and my Skopian friends who troll this website that I never criticize.

  37. “Alex Prime Minister of Greece” is my only handle on Greek Reporter. I swear its true.  Just like I swear I am a Greek patriot  who votes for Golden Dawn.. then go on to constantly defend Skopians and leftists.

  38.  I am against smoking…but this response from you really shows how out of touch you are with reality.  The reason this hasn’t worked is because the government doesn’t enforce it.  This is the 6th time they are doing this.  Why have they not enforced the laws in the past?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.