Smoking in Greece

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Royal decree of 1856, introducing the first ban on smoking in modern Greece. Prohibition was valid only within state buildings and was grounded on the need to prevent accidents.

Smoking in Greece was at the highest rate of tobacco consumption (more than 40%) in the European Union in 2010.[1]

Since older legislation was not very efficient a new, stricter law was passed. Effective from 1 September 2010, this law bans smoking and consumption of tobacco products by other means, in all working places, transportation stations, in taxis and passenger ships (in trains, buses and airplanes smoking is already prohibited), as well as in all enclosed public places including restaurants, night clubs, etc., without any exception. Casinos and bars bigger than 300 sq m were given eight months to apply the law.[2] Smoking is also prohibited in atria and internal areas with removable roofcovers or tents as well as in external seating areas that are surrounded by a tent and are not open from at least two sides. Fines are particularly heavy for smokers who do not comply (fines range from 50 to 500 Euros) as well as for the working places or companies, i.e. restaurants, night clubs, pubs, etc. (fines range from 500 to 10,000 Euros). For those companies that violate the law for the 5th time in a row, the law orders for the closure of the specific company.

As the previous law, this new one is also not implemented and smoking is permitted in the most public places in Greece. Posted signage indicating smoking ban legislation are commonly ignored.

A website[3], now not in service, and a telephone hotline for information as well as citizens to report any violations of the new law (tel: 1142) along with an extensive media campaign were created to promote the 1 September smoking ban in Greece. The government signed an agreement with Harvard University the help in developing the government’s anti-tobacco policies and mounting publicity campaigns.[4] The Harvard School of Public Health will also help Greece conduct research, organize conferences and train all the officials who will be involved in imposing the ban.[4]

The only exception to the law are airports. There, smoking is only permitted in special separated smoking booths equipped with separate ventilation systems and air filters. Currently only the Athens International Airport has installed such booths: one in the extra-Schengen arrival area before passport control and one in the intra-Schengen baggage claim area, both smoking booths are accessible only to arriving passengers. In all other Greek airports no smoking booths have been installed and smoking is totally prohibited inside terminal buildings.


  1. ^ Staff (13 July 2010). "2010 Eurobarometer survey on tobacco – European Public Health Alliance". European Public Health Alliance. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Greece to ban smoking in all indoor public places | US Winston Online Club". 1 June 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Archived 2010-02-13 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b Staff (27 July 2010). "Harvard to help in smoking ban". Kathimerini. Retrieved 10 August 2010.