October 8, 2010 - ATHENS - Greeks are largely ignoring a new smoking ban, lighting up in restaurants and bars despite threats of fines on Europe’s heaviest smokers. (More - Greece- September 1st embarks on 4th attempt in eight-years to ban smoking in public places..)
The new Socialist government hoped fines would work after a partial ban in 2009 was largely ignored, but the law is flouted, again.
The law in a nutshell“Everywhere, I mean in eight out of ten cases, the ban is being violated — and this is really bad for the state,” Health Minister Andreas Loverdos told lawmakers late on Wednesday, October 6th after undercover inspectors went to check on bars and restaurants.
* Individuals found smoking in public indoor places may be issued with a fine ranging from 50 to 500 euros.
* Owners of public places (restaurants, cafes, workplaces etc) where people are found smoking, those found guilty of selling tobacco and alcohol products to minors, and those found in contravention of the ban on tobacco advertising, will face a fine ranging from 500 to 10,000 euros. On their fifth violation, their respective operating licence will be cancelled.
* Repeat offenders in all categories will pay higher fines
(1.00 EURO = 1.28 USD)
Source: Article 17 of Law 3868/2010, published in the Government Gazette on August 3
Bars and restaurants were given one month, until October 1, to comply with the September 1 ban on smoking in indoor public places — no easy task in a country where about 40 percent of people smoke.
Inspectors can impose up to 10,000 euros ($13,990) in fines on bar-owners tolerating smoking and up to 500 euros for smokers who break the law.
Dozens of bar owners rallied in a central square in Athens to protest against the ban, with banners reading: “We say yes to ashtrays.” Some also shut their cafes.
“Bars are dependent on tobacco, music and coffee. If this law is implemented, it will be a disaster. They will shut down,” said bar owner Spyros Aloyannis.
The government has also increased the tax on tobacco in a revenue-raising measure under a fiscal austerity plan mandated by an EU/IMF bailout to ease Greece’s sovereign debt crisis.
Reference: Eight in 10 Greeks violate smoking ban by Reuters, TorontoSun.com, 10/8/2010.
Some Greece related news briefs:
More - Greece- September 1st embarks on 4th attempt in eight-years to ban smoking in public places..;
Greece to go smoke free startng September 1, 2010 this time with the help of Harvard School of Public Health..;
Harvard SPH to help Greece with smoking ban..;
Greece - to try again to ban smoking in all indoor public places..;
Greece - another increase in tobacco taxes can be expected..;
Greece - trusty kiosks to shut in tobacco tax protest..;
Greeks smoke in defiance of ban..;
Greece - latest attempt at a smoking ban failing..;
Greek Farmers Renew Bulgaria Border Blockade..;
E-cigarettes - scientists want more safety studies before use..;
Greece - to increase tax on tobacco and alcohol..;
Greece - smoking ban, re-examining the legal framework supporting it..;
Pregnant women exposed to passive smoke greater chance of child will have respiratory distress..;
Greek betting firm - July 1st smoking ban has resulted in a further fall in sales..;
Greece - will the July 1st smoking ban work??;
Greece - ban on smoking in workplace starts July 1, 2009..;
Greece starts anti-smoking campaign..;
Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World...
(Hellenic Republic, Greek)