Greek government was heavily criticized for failing to implement the 2008 law that was designed to prohibit smoking in public.
Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos held a speech on 24th of May commenting on the anti-smoking campaign and its effects. The speech took place at the International Conference on Tobacco Control 2017 organized by the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) in Athens.
The Greek President feels that the question of smoking, in general, is in direct connection to education. He did not want to criticize the methods against smoking that were used so far, but he did emphasize that special attention in this matter should be given to teenagers, who should know that smoking, other than being dangerous, has no social value.
Pavlopoulos commented that young people should learn to resist to this type of a temptation which would mean their first victory of their life.
However, the Greek President did not comment about the controversy that has developed around the government’s failed attempts to implement the previously mentioned ban.
According to WHO’s report, Greece has a very poor compliance framework when it comes to tackling public smoking. The law was passed in 2008 but was never actually implemented as such.
Vytenis Andriukaitis, the EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said that it is clear that exposure to secondhand smoking in public spaces varies greatly among the European countries but that it is undeniably high in Greece. Obviously, there is no significance in laws that are not enforced properly or at all, according to Andriukaitis.
Professor Panagiotis Behrakis, Director of Institute of Public Health of the American College of Greece commented that Greece was actually leading the scientific initiative to battle against smoking, but believes that passive smoking in the country has not been addressed at all.
According to Behrakis, Greece lacks political initiative and willingness to address the issue under the explanation that the law cannot be enacted. Taking into consideration that over 80% of Greek citizens are angry about the events happening it is clear to see how this is a cultural issue and not only a health issue.