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EU Commission urges Greece to implement smoking ban

The number of smokers in Greece has decreased over the last five years, however, the non-implementation of a smoking ban in enclosed public places has irritated the public, which calls it “cultural degradation,” writes European affairs website euractiv.com. The European Commission  generally advises Greece to implement the smoking ban which was voted in  but never fully implemented.

Contacted by EURACTIV.com for a comment, a European Commission spokesperson said generally, “We urge member states to follow the Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments.”

The Council Recommendation on smoke-free environments (November 2009) called on member states to adopt and implement laws to fully protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke in enclosed public places, workplaces and public transport, within three years of its adoption.

“Enhance smoke-free laws with supporting measures such as protecting children, encouraging efforts to give up tobacco use and pictorial warnings on tobacco packages,” the Recommendation reads.

The World Health Organisation says Greece’s compliance with the smoke-free environments framework is quite poor.

A law adopted in 2008 that prohibited smoking in public places has never been implemented

Anti-smoking campaigners heavily criticised the Greek government for not implementing a 2008 law that prohibits smoking in public places. EURACTIV.com reports from Athens.

According to a new survey conducted by ΚΑΠΑ Research and published last week (12 January), the number of smokers in the country has significantly decreased.

Particularly, 27.1% of the population today says it smokes compared to 36.7% recorded by researchers in 2012. This decrease within five years is a record on an EU level, analysts highlighted, adding that this is the smallest prevalence of smoking ever in the Greek population.

In addition, most Greeks said they opposed smoking and 88.1% consider it a national goal to reduce it.

The survey also focused on the issue of passive smoking in enclosed public places, with 83.8% of respondents claiming that the non-compliance with the law is a cultural degradation.

Moreover, 76.1% of Greeks are angry about the fact that the country is one of the few EU countries that allow smoking in enclosed areas, exposing its citizens to passive smoking.

 

Last but not least, the survey also found that 69.8% of Greeks are willing to participate voluntarily in actions to reduce smoking, especially among young people.

More on Greece’s smoking ban here

PS Should all Greeks stop smoking the government and the lenders would need to seek ways to replace the lost revenues from the high taxes and fees on cigarettes and other tobacco products

 

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15 comments

  1. What’s even worse is how proud people are to smoke indoors in Greece! Get a life people!

  2. The EU anti-smoking zealots should butt out and leave Greece alone. All those figures they quote are BS. They will have either selected, or allowed to self-select all the people questioned for the survey. You only have to go out and about in Greece to see that the majority of people prefer things the way they are. And if a bar or restaurant owner wishes to have a non-smoking premises, all he has to do is to make it known that his business is a non-smoking one. It’s not rocket science.

    The smoking bans worldwide have done a huge amount of economic and social damage – something the zealots choose to ignore. If people really wanted all bars and restaurants to be non-smoking, there would be no need for any laws banning it – any business owner who wants to survive will do what the majority of his customers want. Even in the UK, where the ban has been strictly enforced for ten years, in a recent poll the majority of people (and that will include many non-smokers) think it is too strict, and that pubs should be allowed to have a mix of smoking and non-smoking.

    This has nothing to do with health – it’s all about money and control. The anti-smoking industry (for industry it is) is a massively funded business, with a global budget greater than the GDP of many small countries. Governments rely on tobacco taxes, as do all the anti-smoking organisations to a greater or lesser extent (the big pharmaceutical companies make up the shortfall, as smoking bans are good business for them) which is why you never hear anyone in the anti-smoking industry calling for a total ban on tobacco.

    And as for so-called ‘passive smoking’, it’s a myth – an intricate lie concocted by the anti-smoking lobby as an excuse to introduce bans. I can provide you with links to the original research if you like. The two largest and most comprehensive studies ever undertaken on the subject, one in the USA commissioned by the American Cancer Society, and the other in Europe commissioned by the WHO, both concluded there was no statistically significant link between exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke and ill health. And they were dealing with non-smokers who lived with a smoker, not people who went to a bar a couple of times a week. In fact in the WHO study, the only one statistically significant result they found was that children raised in a smoking household has LESS chance of developing lung cancer (by a factor of over 20%) than kids raised in a non-smoking house.

    Unsurprisingly, the ACS, once they got wind of what the results were going to be, de-funded the study, and the researchers, Ernesto and Kabat, had to look elsewhere to fund the publication of the results. Likewise, when the WHO got the results of their study (by Boffetta et al), basically saying that ‘passive smoke’ was not a risk, they were horrified, and buried the research as deep as they could, in the hope that nobody would find it. Well, it was the ‘wrong’ result, wasn’t it? So they made some stuff up instead, and went ahead with lobbying for smoking bans based on the ‘dangers’ of ‘passive smoking’.

    I have links to both those studies if you’re interested.

    The whole issue of smoking has been blown out of all proportion by a coterie of ideological zealots who have lied and exaggerated every step of the way. Did you realise that the statement “Smoking causes lung cancer” has never actually been proven? Researcher have spent the past sixty years trying to replicate the mechanism by which smoking causes cancer in the lung. Without success. Tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of lab animals have been sacrificed; they have been force-fed the smoke from the equivalent of up to 500 cigarettes a day, and still they haven’t managed to cause lung cancer in any of them – even the ones bred to be susceptible to caner. Yes, there is a strong correlation between smoking and lung cancer, we know, but correlation is not causation. In the USA there is a strong correlation between per capita cheese consumption and the number of people who die from becoming entangled in their bedsheets (94.71%, if you’re interested), but that doesn’t mean that if you eat lots of cheese you raise the risk of dying that way.

  3. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Several factual errors in one post here. First, the tobacco industry with its massive financial resources delayed scientific evidence and political debate for decades, to protect their money. The anti-smoking lobby had no resources.

    Secondly, the implementation of no-smoking pubs in the UK, Italy, Spain and elsewhere has been very positive, with people appreciating not to have to suffer that aspyhxiating pollution on top of traffic pollution on the streets. The claim that if people wanted no-smoking places they would have been created is just free market nonsense.

    Thirdly, smoking causes lung and other cancers. This is scientific fact, and it is plainly ridiculous to deny it. And making the ridiculous assertion that cheese consumption is as harmful as tobacco is just nonsense. The carcinogens in tobacco are well known, and also known to cause the cancers that people have been dying from.

    The poster is clearly in denial about the realities of the harm caused by tobacco. It’s one thing to inflict it on yourself, but nobody has a right to inflict it on others or to expect society to pay the high medical bills for the cancer treatment of those affected.

  4. keeptalkinggreece

    society comes up also for high medical bills for liver cancer due to alcohol consumption but nobody considers banning alc form public places.

  5. @MBE

    The tobacco industry may or may not have been disingenuous in the past – that is debatable. Many of the top management had been recruited from other industries for their business acumen rather than their knowledge of tobacco, and they may well have voiced uninformed opinions which were later jumped on by the anti-tobacco lobby.

    The implementation of no-smoking pubs in the UK, Italy, Spain and elsewhere has been very positive? Are you joking? Do you realise that more than 17,000 pubs and clubs have shut down in uk since the smoking ban was introduced? And that the rate of closures quadrupled immediately following the ban? Where were all the droves of happy non-smokers that we were told would now be flocking to the ‘new, smoke-free’ pubs? If that’s what you call ‘positive’, I shudder to think what your definition of ‘negative’ is.

    It is NOT scientific fact that smoking causes lung cancer. There is a strong association, and it remains a strong possibility, but if it is indeed the case, then why do only a small percentage of smokers get LC? Why did Japan, one of the heaviest smoking countries, have a much lower rate of LC than the USA? There is a tribe in Indonesia somewhere who introduce their kids to smoking at the age of two. There has never been a case of LC recorded among them. Anomalies, anomalies, everywhere you look, there are anomalies.

    Did you know that the first Doll and Hill study (upon which the whole ‘Smoking Causes Lung Cancer’ theory is based) asked those taking part if they inhaled. When they published their results, their methodology was questioned by Sir Ronald Fisher, considered to be the greatest statistician of the time. He also pointed out that the results showed that the participants in the study who inhaled had a much higher life expectancy and less LC than those who didn’t inhale, which, he said, completely undermined the theory that smoking causes cancer of the lung. In their next research project, they didn’t ask the inhaling question – it obviously made the association much more difficult…

    As an aside, it’s worth noting that Sir Richard Doll testified (as a world renowned and independent cancer expert) to the Australian government, that the illnesses suffered by soldiers returning from Vietnam were not caused by exposure to Agent Orange, a defoliant that was being sprayed everywhere by the Americans. After his death, it emerged that at the time he was testifying as to the safety of Agent Orange, he was also receiving $1500 a day ‘consultation fee’ from Monsanto, the makers of Agent Orange. Would you buy a used car from this man?

    “…expect society to pay the high medical bills for the cancer treatment of those affected…”

    In the UK, according to the (doubtlessly exaggerated) NHS figures ‘smoking related’ illness costs them £2.7 billion a year. Smokers pay more than £11 billion per year in tobacco taxes. So be nice to them – they’re subsidising your health care.

  6. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Sorry, this is delusional nonsense. Nobody here is competent to pass expert judgement on the tobacco studies, so there is no point in pretending otherwise. I am confident in the honesty of independent scientists — i.e. those who are not paid by the tobacco lobby. And there is no anti-smoking lobby that has big money behind it: this is sheer fabrication.

    As for statistical correlation, I do have some expertise on that in general — and can tell you that your comments are simply erroneous. It is obvious that you do not understand how to interpret statistical data.

    And of course excessive alcohol consumption is a problem across Europe, especially wrt to liver problems. There is no policy on this at the moment, other than public education on the matter, but much alcohol consumption is in the home rather than in public places. That is part of the social change that nisakiman appears ignorant of: people have less time to spend in pubs, and also less money. But there is a problem, and if it gets much worse we might see the return of prohibitionism…

  7. Hecataeus Miletuss

    One thing that is not debateable. As a runner/athelete, I know that when I enter a building, home, or car where someone is smoking, I do find it uncomfortable and sometimes I cough involuntarily. Of course, if the law allows people to smoke, it’s their right. I would never complain to someone about it. I would just leave if I don’t like it. However, Emphasema is another condition that I believe smoking can cause and it’s a horrible way to live. Alcohol certainly is a problem, not so much in Greece, but at least with Alcohol someone drinking it won’t impose on your health directly (indirectly from driving or violence possibly). In closing, I think allowing smokers some sort of refuge to smoke at bars/restaurants is a good idea, but not at an indoor venue.

  8. @ MBE

    “I am confident in the honesty of independent scientists — i.e. those who are not paid by the tobacco lobby.”

    Are you really so naive as to believe that researchers working for virulently anti-smoking organisations are not biased? They’ve been churning out junk science for decades – it’s what they do. The organisations concerned give them the result they want and tell them to design a study to come up with the required answer. In fact, contrary to your assertion, the only proper science done on tobacco research is funded by the tobacco industry, because everything they do is microscopically and critically examined, unlike the junk science from Tobacco Control, who can publish any old garbage and get away with it.

  9. The big question for me in this discussion is why they do not forbid cigarettes totally ?
    As a smoker i can not take this laws seriously as long as it is allowed to sell cigarettes .

  10. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @nisakiman. No. I am not naive. I approach scientific matters with an element of scepticism about the potential bias of paid research. This is not the case here: you are engaging in Greek-style conspiracy theory.

    In reality, there are quite enough conspiracies in existence concerning money and power, without making up any more. Smoking tobacco is a very risky habit and second-hand fumes damage others’ health. Personally, I a, very sensitive to such fumes, as I come from a non-smoking family and never smoked a single cigarette. The Greek mentality on these matters is backward and inconsiderate to those who value good health. Pretending that tobacco companies are honest while anti-smoking campaigners are corrupt is a mirror image of the reality. A total delusion.

  11. @Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    Enstrom, Kabat, 2003:
    “Conclusions: The results do not support a causal relation between environmental tobacco smoke and tobacco related mortality, although they do not rule out a small effect. The association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and coronary heart disease and lung cancer may be considerably weaker than generally believed.”
    (This study was initially funded by the American Lung Association. The pulled the plug on it when they saw the first-draft, initial conclusions. As it was an enormous project, alternative funding was sought in order to complete and publish).

    Multicenter case-control study of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and lung cancer in Europe:
    “Conclusions: Our results indicate no association between childhood exposure to ETS and lung cancer risk. We did find weak evidence of a dose-response relationship between risk of lung cancer and exposure to spousal and workplace ETS. There was no detectable risk after cessation of exposure.
    More generally, as of June 2011 there were 127 generally available epidemiolgical studies on the effects of passive smoke (or whatever it’s called this week). Of these, 14 concluded a negative effect, and 5 of these found a relative risk of under 2.0 (ie, well under even a generous ‘statistical significance’ margin). 2 studies found a relative risk of less than 1.0 (ie, a protective effect).

    Given the above your assertion that “second-hand fumes damage others’ health” is simply incorrect and holds no water, perhaps indicating that you’re the victim of lazy journalism.

  12. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @Roger. I can assure you from personal direct experience that second hand smoke damages my health even spontaneously. The world is full of denials of scientific analyses with political implications, because this involves hundreds of billions of dollars. To put it bluntly, if scientific theories of the past had been caught up in capitalism, people now would be denying the laws of gravity, Newtonian physics and much else. In the past, it was the Church that stifled scientific progress: now it is big business. So enough of the climate change denial, the tobacco cancer denial, etc. etc. — if you don’t mind. I am not interested to hear such propaganda.

  13. @MBE

    “— if you don’t mind. I am not interested to hear such propaganda…”

    That’s rich. You’ve done nothing but quote propaganda soundbites you’ve read in some rag or other for this whole thread. When given actual, hard facts that disagree with your belief system, you ignore or deny them.

    There’s none so blind as those who will not see.

  14. Martin Baldwin-Edwards

    @nisakiman. I have followed the tobacc-cancer research since 1974 or so, and observed how the tobacco companies as part of big business rigged the debate and denied the massive body of evidence that had already emerged. The same has happened with the scientific data on global warming.

    If you want to support big business interests then feel free to do so. But do not pretend that you know even the rudiments of scientific research, because it is clear that you do not.

  15. Bravo Nisakiman and Roger Braintree.

    Could you please provide your links too.

    Obviously the EU report is a work of fiction, including the desire of Greeks to be more like the EU – LOL

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