Greece introduces smoking ban in public places

GREEK smokers were under pressure to curb their habit as a new law banning smoking in public places went into effect in Europe’s most nicotine-addicted nation.

Under the slogan “Stub out your cigarettes, add to your life,” the legislation adopted in July 2009, but so far unenforced, bans smoking in all public spaces except casinos and large music halls which have an extension to June.

Violaters face fines from €50 to €500, while business operators risk penalties of €500 to €10,000 and repeat offenders could have their licences revoked.

This time the government says it will enforce the measure, which Prime Minister Georges Papandreou said would “contribute to our goals... of making the country more viable, not only economically but in daily life”.

Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyannakopoulou said smokers would have a one-month grace period during which they will not face punishment.

Forty percent of Greeks are smokers, Ta Nea daily reported on Monday.


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