Greeks Start Smoking at the Age of 12

students smoking

Greece once more captures the media spotlight but not for the right reasons. Greek children smoking at school has become a common phenomenon according to a survey of smoking published on Monday, January 27, by the Ministry of Health. The results are disappointing and highlight the worrying issue of access to cigarettes by minors.

According to the survey, 60 percent of Greek 13-15 year old’s become passive smokers because their parents smoke at home. Almost 80 percent of students claim that they have already smoked or have seen other students smoking at school, while 85 percent said that they buy cigarettes without any problems from shops close to their schools.

According to Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), 15 percent of students between 13-15 years of age are already smoking, while 13 percent claim to be determined to continue with the practice. The results show that almost 17 percent of boys within this age range smoke, compared to 13 percent of girls.

The average age at which minors begin smoking is around 12, while 10 percent claim to have begun at just seven years of age. Specialists suggest that pocket-money provides the means for purchasing cigarettes. The more money given, the greater the risk of it being used for cigarettes.

Equally interesting is the data from GYTS on Greece’s adult smokers. About 3.5 million Greeks smoke regularly. About 65 percent of smokers are between 18-44 years old, smoking on average around 20 cigarettes per day.

About 72 percent of smokers claim to feel the need for a cigarette within the first 30 minutes after waking up, including about 51 percent of men and under 25 percent of women smokers.



  1. This is very revealing information for the cigarette smugglers because the kiddies cannot afford to buy a pack at the legal government regulated price So many taxes, so many years and so little effectiveness. Besides of the typical media chest beating how about soom realistic suggestions how to address the issue besides more taxes and ineffective advertisements?

  2. Maybe peer education programs. But I imagine such programs are non-existent in Greek schools. Irony mode on: It’s much more important to teach about 17th of November. Irony mode off.

  3. Good idea to apply peer pressure as it is a very effective if sustained. One I fondly recall was the prettiest girl in our school telling us “potential suitors” that kissing a boy that smokes is like licking an ashtray. That left an unforgettable impression and proved once and for all there is no greater power over a 13 year old impressionable boy than a beautiful girl.

  4. Agree. Greece has to make smoking uncool. Unfortunately, many see smoking as being “magkas”.