ATHENS – It's still not been reported whether an alleged crackdown on smoking to enforce ignored laws is having any effect, but the new New Democracy government is sending lawmakers a bill that would provide stricter penalties and get tougher on smoking in public places.
The measure will likely be voted on after debate on Oct. 15 and, if approved, will go into effect the next day but it's unclear how it will be enforced either after the government wanted police to help inspectors make sure the law is being followed but got resitance.
It will prohibit smoking from all public indoor areas, but also in playgrounds and other open-air areas frequented by children with no explanation whether health inspectors would be touring those areas to check for compliance.
It also bans smoking in taxis, as well as at all sports arenas, including open-air stadiums where there could be scores of thousands of people, many of whom set off flares during matches they are allowed to bring in.
Fines will also be much stiffer, at 200 euros ($221) for smokers violating the ban and at 500 euros ($551) for the managers or owners of the businesses or establishments where the violations are taking place.
Authorities haven't released any figures to indicate whether the vaunted crackdown is working or even taking place as there is anecdotal evidence showing people smoking at tables with no smoking signs in coffee shops and other places as well as post offices and public workplaces.