Greece will impose fines of up to €1,500 people smoking in cars when children below 12 years old are present. According to a circular issued by the Health Minister Andreas Xanthos on Monday, the ban refers to cigarettes and all tobacco products as well as to electronic cigarettes and herbal products. The fine will double if the smoker is driver of a public vehicle. This driver will be held responsible even if the law breaker is just a passenger.
Fines will be imposed also on smokers in public health institutions and patients will be even expelled from them if they break the law.
Generally speaking the circular refers to all public institutions like health and education institutions from kindergarten to university as well as sports and entertainment facilities.
The Greek police will be assigned with finding the infringement and imposing of the fine. However also responsible to find the offenders are municipality police, coast guard as well as everyone in charge of the above mentioned facilities.
The fine will be imposed both to the smoker and those person in charge.
The smoking ban in presence of children is reportedly a regulation of the European Union that otherwise does not care much about whether Greek children have enough food to eat in times of Greek austerity..
The smoking ban in public places has a long, painful history as Greeks vehemently refused to comply with.
The moment the smoking ban was legislated in 2010, Greeks sought a series of ways to bypass the law. In bars, restaurants and cafeterias the ashtrays were replaced by ‘candle holders’ or small vintage wine glasses with water.
Municipalities tried to enforce the law, shop owners tried to escape, the seek-and-hide game ended up that some restaurants and cafeterias banned smoking all together, others tolerated it out of fear of losing customers.
The smoking ban upset thousands of smokers and entertainment shopkeepers alike.
Many complained “as if it was not enough that we have austerity, do we have to cut smoking as well?”
Given the fact that Greeks refuse to comply with the smoking ban, media described Xanthos’ circular today as “another circular for the garbage bin.”
PS With “herbal products” they don’t mean smoking pot, do they?