Ban On; Greek Hospital Worker Fined 100 Euros for Smoking

(Photo by Eurokinissi/Sotiris Dimitropoulos, FILE)

ATHENS – There’s plenty of examples that Greece’s 11-year-old no smoking law is still being ignored despite a crusading crackdown by the new New Democracy government – which said police would help enforce it – but a hospital worker was among the first to be penalized, whacked with a 100-euro ($110.81) fine for lighting up on the premises.

The fine was imposed by inspectors who were ate the Gennimata Hospital where it has been common to see staff and visitors smoking almost anywhere they want, before Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis took power.

According to a report on iatropedia.gr, the woman, who was not identified, was caught smoking in the hospital’s infectious diseases unit following complaints about violations of the public smoking ban made by the activist Andreas Bardakis of the Ombudsman for the Disabled.

Her supervisor had been absent on vacation at the time of the offense, according to reports, with the government saying it would be serious about enforcing the law. Workers found to be smoking in hospitals will face a 100-euro fine while their supervisors will be slapped with a 500-euro ($554) penalty, according to the provisions of the ban which prohibits smoking in public places, including bars, tavernas, nightclubs and other establishments where patrons still can be seen doing it and no reports of enforcements there.

DON’T SMOKE ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM

Mitsotakis’ aim to have ignored no smoking laws enforced to the hilt will see public transport drivers, including taxis and buses, fined 1,500 euros ($1682.33) and lose their licenses for a month if they light up.

That was in a directive from the Health Ministry which had earlier advised all public officials that the crackdown – starting in Parliament – extends to public buildings and will be enforced, including by the police if necessary.

If there is a child under 12 in the vehicle, the fine will be 3,000 euros ($3364.65,) said Kathimerini, and the same will apply to drivers of personal vehicles, who will lose their driver’s license for smoking in their own cars if there’s a child, and will be fined even if someone else in the car is smoking.

Signed by Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias, the memo is a reminder to authorities of the government’s intention to enforce the law, although many restaurant and tavern owners and coffee shops especially have ignored it, setting out ash trays for use.

Apart from all state, government, local, medical, educational and childcare services, the ban also includes sports arenas, all indoor bars, restaurants and cafes work areas, airports (except for specially-designated enclosed smoking areas), passenger waiting areas, public transportation and taxis.

Greek lawmakers and staff light up in the building where they passed laws barring people from doing so in enclosed public buildings and spaces but that’s also gone unenforced in a country with one of the highest rates of smoking in the European Union and world.