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Greece launches smoking ban campaign

April 29, 2009 at 4:37 PM

ATHENS, Greece, April 29 (UPI) -- Greece's health minister said the government launched a promotion campaign to help introduce restrictions on smoking in public places as of July 1.

Addressing reporters in Athens, Greek Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos said the nationwide campaign is targeted at safeguarding the nation's health, the Ekathimerini newspaper said Wednesday.

The minister cited a recent public survey suggesting that six in 10 Greek smokers support the campaign.

With Greeks considered among the most passionate smokers in the European Union, Avramopoulos said 20,000 Greeks die a year of smoking-related diseases, which annually costs the national health system some $2.8 billion.

The law says all offices, restaurants, cafes and other public places must designate areas for smokers. Managers that fail to respect the law will face fines, the newspaper said.

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