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In Chain Smoking Greece, No-Smoking Beach Planned on Serifos

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Serifos, Greece. Photo; Eurokinissi

ATHENS - With half a dozen No Smoking laws ignored in Greece over the last decade - Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis smokes IN the Health Ministry - plans are being made to make Vagia Beach on the island of Serifos a no-smoking haven.

It wasn’t explained how it would be policed or enforced, but the municipality and the A.C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation said they want to create the country’s first smoke free beach and ban people from lighting up in the open air.

It wouldn’t exactly be entirely smoke-free, with the idea being to have a designated area for smokers and ashtrays and environmental messages urging people not to stub out their butts in the sand, which creates further pollution.

“The [long-term] aim of the effort to make Vagia the first smoking-free beach in the Cyclades is to raise awareness in all of us and to prevent marine pollution,” said the foundation’s Executive Director Angeliki Kosmopoulou, who said it worked in France as well as Italy.

The smoke-free beach initiative is part of the Sea Change Greek Islands project, which last year, starting in Sikinos, launched a drive to phase out the use of plastic bags and plastic straws.

With one of the world’s highest smoking rates and the laws unenforced, with no political will to take on smokers by politicians, Greeks pretty much light up where they want, including in hospitals, workplaces, public buildings and workplaces that are also allegedly smoke-free areas.

There was no indication yet whether Serifos would employ inspectors or smoking police to go around and tell smokers on Vagia Beach to either stop smoking or move to the designated smoking area somewhere.