(Greece) – According to the Hellenic Statistical Authority,or ELSTAT, 67% of all Greeks consider themselves to be nonsmokers. Additionally, 6% of Greeks have said that they smoke only occasionally, and 27% of Greeks smoke on a regular basis. While this data is encouraging, these stats don’t talk about how many people are actually exposed to passive cigarette smoke. ELSTAT also reported that 28% of all Greeks were exposed to second-hand smoke inside the home, while 79% of people in places such as clubs and restaurants were exposed to it.
What is notable about these statistics, especially those that assess passive smoke exposure, is that many see it as an indicator that the Anti-Smoking Laws that the Attorney General of the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece has put into place haven’t been strictly enforced. Back in March of 2014, Efterpi Koutzamani, the Attorney General, sent a letter to all relevant officials stating that they should take the measures necessary to enact the EU-regulated anti-smoking laws. Back in 2010, the EU reported that Greece has the highest cigarette consumption in the European Union. The anti-smoking ban was first enacted in 2010 and despite promises by the government that they would enforce it, the ELSTAT data shows that people still continue to smoke in these areas.
Both the smoking and being exposed to second-hand smoke have been repeatedly shown to be bad for the health. According to the World Health Organization, smoking kills roughly half of its users. Around 6 million people worldwide lose their lives because of exposure to tobacco smoke. About 600,000 of these deaths are the result of exposure to passive smoke and of these, 150,000 of these deaths were children. Passive smoke is harmful to everyone but those who are particular vulnerable include pregnant women and children. According to an EU survey, many Greeks are unhappy that the anti-smoking bans haven’t been enforced.