The Council of State ruled on Wednesday that smoking is in casinos and in entertainment venues is against the constitution on Wednesday. Greece’s top court annulled the ministerial decision of 2011 that was allowing smoking towards a fee. However, the court ruling came too late as the government had already issued a new ministerial decision allowing smoking in such venues exceeding 300 square meters.
According to state news agency amna, Law 3868/2010 had prohibited smoking in stores, restaurants, cafes and health areas. A ministerial decision of 2011 had exempted casinos and large entertainment venues with music as long as they created closed or covered spaces for smokers of a maximum of half the surface of the total venue, and paid an annual fee of 200 euros per square meter of the smoking section.
The Council based its decision on the fact that since 2003 Greece is obliged by international treaty (World Health Organisation) to restrict smoking.
The treaty was ratified by Law 420/2005, the Council said, and trumps any conflicting domestic law. Although the larger the space, the greater the revenue for the state, the less the purpose of reducing smoking is served, the judges said, striking Law 3868 down.
The Council ruled after a complaint filed by nonprofit “Minyma Zois” (Message of Life) and three individuals, who reapplied for a repeat ruling, when the ministers of Finance and Health signed a new decision in January 2019, replacing the 2011 one with the same content.
Given the fact that the CoS might have to deal again with the issue, this will most possibly takes place in a couple of years.
Until then, Greeks will keep smoking in these -and other areas where they are not supposed to- because they rightfully think “if the government does not respect the state and the laws, why should I?”