Greece starts anti-smoking campaign..

April 29, 2009 - Athens - Greece, one of Europe's heaviest smoking nations, on Wednesday, April 28th launched a six month anti-smoking campaign ahead of a ban outlawing smoking in most public places from July 1. Greece's health minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said the government launched a promotion campaign to help introduce restrictions on smoking in public places.

Avramopoulos: "With the drafting of a national action plan against smoking, our country has acquired a targeted and strategic policy for the promotion and safeguarding of public health.

The ban is only partial. Under the new law, smoking will be banned in public places such as schools, universities, state offices, hospitals and on all forms of public transport. Private offices, restaurant and bar owners will be required to designate smoking and non-smoking areas to safeguard public health.

The Health Ministry said the new law is aimed at saving the lives of an estimated 20,000 people who die of smoking-related diseases every year, adding that the habit costs the state more than 2 billion euros a year (2 654 800 000 U.S. Dollars).

According to a poll in the Greek daily Kathimierini newspaper, 62 percent of Greek smokers welcomed the planned measures. The opinion poll also suggested that the law will have an impact on bars and restaurants as a third or 34 per cent of smokers say they will visit them less often because of the new measures.

Interesting facts: Karella Tobacco Company, established in 1888, is Greece's largest cigarette maker and exporter (70% of business). Karella sold over 13.7 billion cigarettes in 2007 in over 65 countries. One in every 300 cigarettes smoked in the world is produced by Karella. In October 2003 the European Commission gave the green light for the Dutch subsidiary of Philip Morris to buy the manufacturing and distributing business of the Greek tobacco company Papastratos Cigarette Manufacturing S.A.

Related news brief: Greece May Have the Highest Cigarette Consumption Per Person in the World...

References: Greece launches anti-smoking campaign ahead of July ban, submitted by Mohit Joshi,, 04/29/2009; Avramopoulos: Smoking ban in effect July 1,, 4/29/2009.
(Hellenic Republic)