Greece has joined the growing club of countries with extensive smoking bans.
From today, smoking is banned in indoor public spaces and work areas, as well as airports, ships, trains and taxis. This after previous attempts at smoking restrictions had little effect. One man in a café in Athens said: “I would rather stay home with friends and have a drink if I can’t go somewhere where I can smoke. I think this will create a crisis with the businesses, if the law is enforced of course.” Bars, cafés and restaurants between 70 and 300 square metres must have separate smoking and non-smoking rooms. Ventilation is also compulsory. Large companies will also be allowed to have smoking rooms. Panagiotis Behrakis, the Director of the National Steering Committee for Tobacco Control, said: “Definitely what will happen is that the climate will change, people’s perceptions around what smoking means will change and the average Greek will start to be troubled with the concept even more.” Greeks are said to be the heaviest smokers in the European Union. Close to 50 percent of the population smokes and six out of ten were reported to be exposed to smoking at work.