Greece bans smoking in public places

July 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM
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ATHENS, Greece, July 1 (UPI) -- A bill banning smoking in indoor public places including offices and restaurants went into effect Wednesday across Greece, the Health Ministry said.

Greek Health Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos told the nation smoking is killing 20,000 people a year and is the biggest contributor to the country's mortality rate. Additional 700 Greeks die annually due to what is described as passive smoking, meaning staying in the same rooms with smokers.

Greeks are considered among the most passionate smokers in the 27-member European Union.

The bill bans the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products to and by minors, the use of tobacco products in indoor public places including transport means, public transport stations, airport terminals, restaurants and cafes, the Athens news agency ANA reported.

Managers are allowed to design special areas, separated from the premises, with ventilation systems for smokers.

Violators of the ban can be fined from $700 to $28,000, ANA said.

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