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31 May, 2002
Greece will follow the example set by the United States and many European countries in enacting a series of nine measures against smoking and for the protection of non-smokers, Health Minister Alekos Papadopoulos said on Thursday.
Announcing the measures at a press conference one day before the international day against smoking, he said that measures will carry penalties of up to three months imprisonment and steep cash fines.
The measures include the total ban on cigarette advertising, beginning from Jan. 1st, which includes a ban on commercials in movie theaters as well, while restaurants and coffee shops will have to create non-smoking sections.
The non-smoking section system will not apply to bars and nightclubs that are open only during the evening and late night hours and it will not apply to the traditional type of Greek coffeehouses.
The minister stressed that the new measures include provisions for the strict enforcement of the cigarette smoking ban in enclosed public areas where people have to stay for long periods of time, such as bus stations, railway stations, airports etc., although the establishment of smoking areas in those places is mandated.
He added that the smoking ban in hospitals, clinics and in all places providing healthcare services will be strictly enforced, as it will be in public transport systems, including taxis.
The education ministry, in cooperation with the health ministry, will undertake a campaign to inform students of the dangers of smoking, aiming to create smoke free schools, while the measures include a mandate banning smoking in school grounds, with the parallel establishment of smoking spaces for teachers who smoke.
Also, the measures include the initiation of a health ministry campaign aiming to alert smokers on the dangers of smoking and to make them more sensitive to those who do not smoke.
The minister stressed that for the success of the measures the ministry's efforts include the upgrading of outpatient clinics of hospitals that aid smokers to reject the habit, while the ministry, along with the National Radio and Television Council, will work toward stopping indirect tobacco advertising in every radio and television broadcast.
During the presentation of the measures, Papadopoulos said the enforcement of the measures in the public service sector will be the responsibility of the managers and supervisors of each service.
The minister underlined that the measures aim at protecting citizens whether they smoke or not, to alleviate the cost of smoking for the healthcare system of the country and to avert the creation of a new generation of smokers.
Source: Athens News Agency