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Greece’s Smokers Binge on Tobacco During COVID-19 Pandemic

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(Photo by Eurokinissi/ Stelios Missinas, file)

ATHENS - Despite putting themselves at greater risk of the breath-robbing COVID-19, smokers in Greece lit up even more during the pandemic and more started puffing away.

That was the finding of a survey by the Marc polling company in March that said 27.2 percent of smokers were smoking even more than they had been and 7 percent started again after having quit before the Coronavirus hit.

That was disconcerting news to Greece’s campaign to reduce smoking in a country notorious for hit and making significant inroads, now suffering a setback even though smoking makes people more susceptible to the virus.

The survey also showed that the highest rates of increased smoking was observed among the self-employed and the unemployed and found that 25 percent of Greeks are smokers.

That was despite 70.7 percent of non-smokers believing that smoking is an outdated habit but that smokers aren’t pressured enough by that to stop what they are doing, said Kathimerini of the results.

While most smokers said they were aware that smoking is dangerous - the warnings are on packs of cigarettes, including it’s a deadly practice - most of them didn’t know why it was.