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Greek gov’t bypasses court ruling on smoking ban with ministerial decision

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.

Read also ⇒ The Greek village where nobody smokes or can buy cigarettes.(video)

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?”

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  1. It should be the owner of the facility and no one else who decides if people can smoke there or not. Nobody’s forcing me to go to those places, and i’d much rather give my business to a place that chooses on its own to be non-smoking. It will attract others who also prefer a non-smoking environment, and the smokers can continue smoking in their own places.
    But all of these restrictions are violations on private citizens.
    Law and the power of the state are a Big Hammer and are always tempting to use. Both people who were already corrupt, but also people who think they are part of a ‘good cause’, if they fall to the temptation to use that Big Hammer to further or enforce their cause, become corrupt and become enemies of humanity. Compared to the danger those people and their methods pose, secondhand smoke is a trifling joke. the moment you compromise the principles of liberty (not the modern word liberalism) to get your hands on that Big Hammer, you step over the threshold and join the forces of evil.
    sorry that’s the reality of it.

  2. @ anon I agree, let the establishment determine if it is or isn’t non-smoking and let them firmly enforce it. It’s not a question of respecting the law, it’s a question of respecting other people. How much does smoking cost the public health system in a country already undergoing serious financial problems?

  3. I would certainly expect a ban on anyone with perfume or underarm spray coming into any establishment where I am eating or drinking. They are absolutely disgusting and spoil my emjoyment every time I go out.