Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Tuesday launched an anti-smoking campaign that aims to reduce smoking in the country by a third within six years.
“The Greek state aims to reduce smoking by 30 percent by 2025,” PM Mitsotakis told a conference on the issue on Tuesday.
“The smoking ban is an initiative to protect public health. A symbolic move to refine our daily lives. Our enemy is smoke, not smokers. Our aim is not division but an alliance on health,” added Mitsotakis.
Ξεκινάμε μία εθνική καμπάνια ενημέρωσης και ευαισθητοποίησης για το κάπνισμα. Ο εχθρός είναι ο καπνός, όχι οι καπνιστές. Και σκοπός δεν είναι ο διχασμός, αλλά μια συμμαχία για την υγεία. Γιατί η υγεία μας ενώνει. pic.twitter.com/LTFxjFLSti
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) November 19, 2019
According to the World Health Organisation, nearly 2 in 5 Greeks 15 and older smoke daily, the highest rate in Europe.
It is also reported that around 20,000 Greeks die every year due to smoking, and results in 700,000 hospital stay annually at a cost of nearly one billion euros (S$1.51 billion), the PM said.
A study by the American College of Greece’s Public Health Institute and the Hellenic Cancer Society in October found that the number of adults who smoke has declined from 40 percent to 27.5 percent in a decade.
But the PM warned that an alarming number of minors smoke, including one in six 15-year-old boys and one in eight girls.
A law promoted last month by Mitsotakis’ government, which came to power in July, issues fines of up to 500 euros for smokers caught lighting up in a restaurant or club, and 10,000 euros for the establishment owners.
Repeated violations could see establishments shut down temporarily and even have their licenses revoked.
The public can now officially report incidents of violations of the smoking ban by calling the number 1142.