May 26, 2017
by Forest EU

You won’t believe how Greek President Pavlopoulos just described smokers

The Greek government is said not to be implementing a 2008 law that prohibits smoking in public places.

The news website EURACTIV just published an interesting story about anti-smoking lobbies heavily criticising the Greek government for not implementing a 2008 law that prohibits smoking in public places.

According to the website, this law

prohibited smoking (and consumption of tobacco products in other ways) in all workplaces (including private), taxis and ferries as well as in all enclosed public places (including bars and restaurants).

EURACTIV continues by saying that

a vast majority of bars and restaurants owners are not abiding by the law.

It is no surprise that such an extreme smoking ban proves hard to implement.

A law allowing bars, restaurants and clubs to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers would have been much more reasonable and likely to be successfully implemented.

While most people understandably prefer to work and socialise in a smoke free environment, designated smoking rooms offer a third way. Those who don’t want to be exposed to tobacco smoke would continue to be protected but it would give adults who choose to smoke somewhere to light up indoors.

In light of the difficulty the Greek government has in implementing this drastic law, designated smoking rooms should be considered as a serious policy option by the government in Greece.

More than 33% of the Greek adult population were smokers in 2014, according to Eurostat.

“Smoking has no social value”

The EURACTIV article also features excerpts from a speech given by Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the International Conference on Tobacco Control 2017 organised by the European Network for Smoking and Tobacco Prevention (ENSP) in Athens on May 24th, 2017.

Here’s a selection of what President Pavlopoulos said about 33% of the country’s adult population:

(…) smoking (…) has no social value.

(…) When you give in to (smoking), you show a weakness that sends bad messages for the future. Because if you cannot cope with this challenge, whose implications you are aware of, then you cannot deal, in these difficult times we are experiencing, with other bigger challenges.

(…) the man who persists in smoking does not understand the elementary duty of solidarity he has towards all his fellow human beings.


Instead of replying to this very poor choice of words with a long dissertation discussing smoking and character, we will offer a few pictures of Konstantínos Karamanlís, a four-time Prime Minister and twice President of the Third Hellenic Republic, who led the successful transition government from military rule to a pluralist democracy.

Karamanlís was a smoker.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So that’s two thousand words for you.

We offered EURACTIV to comment on this story.

It is high time for Greek smokers, and smokers around Europe, to organise themselves and stop not only unsound and failing public policies but also these outrageous attempts to ostracise smokers from normal society.

This is Forest EU’s mission. And we will fight on to deliver.

Featured lead image:, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. 


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