Isle of Wight , England - Celebrates 2nd anniversary of the nationwide smoking ban..

July 1, 2008 - The Isle of Wight is turning into a smoke-free zone for the day, becoming the first island in the United Kingdom (UK) to try to stamp out the scorned cigarette.

The move is to mark the second anniversary of the nationwide smoking ban in public buildings.

The Isle of Wight hopes it might lead to other UK cities doing the same and maybe even help create a smoke-free British Isles.

"We are delighted to lend our support to this campaign," said the IoW's assistant tourism director John Metcalfe. "We pride ourselves on our green and beautiful island and we are also extremely keen to promote healthy lifestyles so visitors and residents can fully enjoy all we have to offer.

"The island is known for its stunning scenery, award winning beaches and a great selection of outdoor pursuits such as walking, cycling and sailing.

We believe the island is the best place in the UK to fill your lungs with healthy fresh air. We are affordable and with 350 ferries per day, we are easy to reach wherever you are in the UK."

The initiative is being supported by NHS Smoking Cessation Services, QUIT and the Isle of Wight council. Another sponsor, Nicorette, is offering support to anyone who needs it, with activity centred around the island's capital, Newport.

"Obviously, we're not going to be locking up people who are smoking," a spokeswoman told Sky News Online. "But we'll be trying to offer encouragement to those who want to give up."

Research shows 20% of adults on the Isle of Wight smoke, with more than two thirds wanting to give up.

Greece, meanwhile, as of July 1, 2009 is the latest European Union (EU) country to impose a ban on smoking - it will be its third attempt in a decade to stamp out the country's love affair with cigarettes. But critics fear loopholes in the legislation and its unpopularity mean it could suffer the same fate as previous anti-smoking bids. Around 20,000 Greeks die a year from tobacco-related ailments and 42% of the population smokes. Greece lags behind many of its European peers who have outlawed smoking in public places in recent years.

Reference: Isle Of Wight Tells Smokers To Butt Out, Sky News, 7/1/2009.