Chain-Smoking Greece Sees Numbers Lighting Up Falling Hard

The National Herald Archive

Photo: Public domain

ATHENS - With one of the world’s highest rates of smoking, and ignoring repeated No Smoking laws, the numbers of people using tobacco in Greece has been declining dramatically, especially among the young.

That was reported by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) which said there are 52.4 percent fewer smokers in 2021 than a decade earlier, previous surveys finding that there has been an overall decrease of daily smokers by 24.5 percent and occasional smokers by 38.3 percent, reported Kathimerini.

The percentage of daily smokers is now below 25 percent, and 14.4 percent in the 15-24 age group, apparently showing results of repeated education campaigns and higher taxes on the products.

The Chairman of the Health Ministry’s expert committee for smoking and Director of the Institute of Public Health at the American College of Greece, Professor Panagiotis Behrakis, told the paper the data agree with corresponding European reports.

In November, 2019 - four months after taking office - a New Democracy government  doubled the fine for those caught smoking in closed public places, such as offices, bars, restaurants and cafes – to 100 euros ($121.04.)