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Are we going to stop smoking from September?

29 August 2010 / 21:08:38  GRReporter
4636 reads

Emanuela Karastoyanova



September is already knocking on the door, and along with it also the new law for a total ban on smoking in public places. Only in a few days smoking in pubs, restaurants, government offices and businesses will become a "hostile entity". Banning smoking in public places was introduced last year, but the truth is that it hasn’t had particularly big success ...

Will the law have any success this time? Officials from the Ministry of Health say that it will. The state will do their best for the smokers to "wake up from the nicotine sleep" by imposing really "salty" fines and stiff policy. So the fines imposed on owners of public places where the law is not observed will vary from 500 to 10,000 euros, regardless of whether the place is a coffee, school, hospital or a company. Smokers themselves will pay fines amounting between 50 and 1500 euros. To ensure that measures which will be implemented by September 1st will be observed the ministry is armed with 4,500 officers and 500 law enforcement agents. Its share for the limitation of smoking will also have the School for professions from the health sector.

"We recourse to the comprehensive ban on smoking, as we have the highest number of smokers in Europe, the highest number of children who start smoking by the age of 15 and especially high number of smokers among people with professions in the health care", says before the Greek media to the Chief Secretary of Health Care Antonis Dimopoulos. "Smokers can go outside to smoke. This is something that can be done quite easily in our country, the summer lasts eight months". To help smokers quit the harmful habit the state provides for the opening of 40 centers for quitting to smoke in hospitals for smokers. Similar centers will be opened also as subsidiaries to the public insurance fund.

To smoke or not? All things come to this issue according to the offended smokers who claim that the law enacted practically bans smoking virtually anywhere. In a minor mood are also the owners of cafes, bars and restaurants, who claim that with the introduced ban the ministry sentences their business to death. Those who openly protested against the law are also many. On its website the Coordinating Center of the owners of restaurants and bars in Greece expresses its full protest against the law and threatens not to let things go like this. The centre urges to introduce special markings for the restaurants for smokers and smoking. Otherwise, facilities will have to close, as it has happened in other European countries.

And whether the law will have the desired effect on smokers? Time will tell. Yiannis, a waiter in the Utopia cafe in the center of Athens is certain that generally speaking nothing can make people quit smoking. Certainly not a law no matter how strict it is. "It is impossible this to happen. Man quits smoking only if he desires it very much". Yannis says that when he is worried smoking calms him down. "When one is worried the cigarette may be as a friend. But it is certainly not a pleasure. It is a pleasure if you smoke only one or two per day". He says that he feels it on himself the negative impact of smoking in a physical and mental aspect: "I smoke for 22 years now and I'm tired of this habit. I cannot however give it up. Without cigarettes, I passed a week and I remember that I was terribly nervous."

Thodoris, a friend of his and a client of the house explains that smoking in Greece is a tradition. And coffee without a cigarette can not be. Therefore, from September 1st he plans himself to limit going out: "I relate coffee to cigarettes. I have been smoking for 20 years now. My daily dose is set to one and a half or two packs and I do not think about quitting them. I've never even made an attempt. Smoking in Greece is a tradition."

The third man from the company named Panayotis said with some sense of humor that if there was a way to do it he would put the Minister of Health on an icon... and he is especially happy that the law for the complete ban on smoking in public places takes effect. He himself has been smoking for 20 years 15, 20 cigarettes per day. "Cigarettes are no pleasure at all. I only light one up when I am in distress. " Unlike his friend he has tried to quit smoking, but without any success. And the most successful method? At once or as he says "with a knife".

Tags: cigarette smoking ban September smoker law Ministry of healthcare
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