ATHENS – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose New Democracy government began enforcing a long string of ignored No Smoking laws, said the plan now would be to reduce the number of people who smoke at least 30 percent by 2025.
Speaking for World No Tobacco Day, he posted on social media that requiring people to follow No Smoking laws – still often ignored in some regions and smaller towns – has proved that, “We can change the habits that harm us and those around us.”
“The 21 actions of the state against tobacco are not enough. It is also necessary to change our daily behavior,” he said, referring to a national action plan against smoking introduced in 2019 when he took power.
His government replaced the Radical Left SYRIZA who had a Deputy Health Minister – a surgeon – Pavlos Polakis, who refused to obey no smoking laws, lit up in the ministry and smoking during a news conference at a previous No Tobacco Day, bragging no one could stop him.
Earlier, municipal officials in the Greek capital said a nicotine addiction clinic will open in June for people who want to kick the habit.
That will go along with yet another awareness program about the dangers of smoking with officials saying the clinic will be a pilot plan with four weekly group sessions that could become permanent, said Kathimerini.
The clinic will provide detailed information to smokers about the effects of smoking and the benefits of quitting in line with previous programs that took years to reap any benefits, the smoking rate in Greece – which had been among the highest in Europe and the world – finally going down.
Cardio-respiratory examinations will be offered along with information and programs about international guidelines for quitting smoking, combining personalized counseling and also medication.
The announcement came no long after a survey found that despite erratic enforcement of No Smoking laws, more and more Greeks want to stop smoking and 82.9 percent want alternative products but don't know how to find them.