Greece - may lighten smoking ban in bars and cafes..

November 22, 2010 - The Health Ministry is reportedly planning to significantly soften a blanket smoking ban introduced in September following “tremendous pressure” from bar and restaurant owners who claim the changes, together with the impact of the economic crisis, are ruining them.

Some Background: On September 1, 2010 Greece tried again to ban lighting up in cafes, restaurants and workplaces. This time Greece has the help of Harvard School of Public Health. (More - Greece- September 1st embarks on 4th attempt in eight-years to ban smoking in public places..) A little over a month later we find that the Greeks are largely ignoring a new smoking ban, lighting up in restaurants and bars despite threats of fines on Europe’s heaviest smokers. (Greece - smoking ban - 4th attempt in 8-years failing..)

"This is the worst thing that could happen to a lawmaker and the government which has to enforce the law -- the refusal of society to comply with the rules," Health Minister Andreas Loverdos told Skai radio.

Greece - bar and restaurant owners openly defying smoking ban..

According to sources, the ministry is considering permitting smoking in cafes and bars after 9 p.m. while keeping the blanket ban in place for restaurants. Cafes and bars that decide to permit smoking would not be allowed to serve patrons aged under 18, according to the amendments reportedly under consideration.

The ministry’s general secretary, Antonis Dimopoulos, said authorities have been besieged by complaints from bar and cafe owners claiming to have seen their business plummet. “We cannot ignore reality,” Dimopoulos said. “We did not expect such tremendous pressure from business owners.” Dimopoulos said many bar and cafe owners claimed to have lost customers to rivals defying the ban.

It remained unclear which, if any, of the aforementioned measures the government would adopt and whether these changes would be acceptable to the European Commission, whose regulations Greece must adhere to as a member state. If the changes are made, they will probably be announced in the first week of December after a conference on smoking being organized by the ministry in Athens in cooperation with Harvard University. (Harvard SPH to help Greece with smoking ban..)

Reference: Ministry to lighten smoking ban,, 11/19/2010.

Some Greece related news briefs:
Greece/Bulgaria - governments opposed to WHO's attempt to ban blended tobacco..;
Greece - bar and restaurant owners openly defying smoking ban..;
Greece - smoking ban - 4th attempt in 8-years failing..;
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)