ATHENS – With the new New Democracy government determined to be the first to enforce no smoking laws – which a previous administration of the Conservatives passed more than a decade earlier – inspections were picked up at cafes and bars over the Oct. 26-28 Oxi Day weekend.
Accompanied by police officers, inspectors spread out across the center of Greece’s capital, especially the tavern-and-restaurant heavy areas of Kolonaki, Karytsi Square and Gazi and found that 80 percent had No Smoking signs up and were observing the ban that had been ignored.
But after Prime Minister Kyriakis Mitsotakis said he would have no tolerance for violators they were not fined but given a warning with inspectors saying a repeat violation would lead to a fine which doesn’t often happen.
Earlier in October, the government sent lawmakers a bill that would provide stricter penalties and get tougher on smoking in public places, 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.