It was long in coming but widespread enforcement of the anti-smoking law now appears to be a reality in Greece.
The data collected jointly by the National Transparency Authority and Greek Police from inspections indicates that the overwhelming majority of citizens and businesses are complying with the law.
Inspections were conducted at restaurants, cafeterias, bars, internet cafes, refreshment bars at theatres, and nightclubs.
The checks were conducted between 20-24 and29-30 November and on 7, 13-15, 17, 19-20, 23, 27-29 December mostly in Athens but also in other cities around Greece such as Thessaloniki, Serres, Kavala, Larissa, Volos, Farsala, Trikala, Karditsa, Preveza, Nafpaktos, Agrinio, Patra, Rio, Pyrgos, Tripoli, Kalamata, Argos, Nafplio, Iraklio and Chania.
According to Transparency Authority data, out of 568 businesses inspected no violation was found in 75 percent of cases.
Just 21 smokers were slapped with fines for smoking in spaces where it was forbidden.
The data show a radical change in Greek smokers’ behaviour.
In a previous round of inspections, 49 percent of spaces that were presented as being outside the business in fact violated the law because they were covered and enclosed areas.
In 59 percent of inspected venues there were either no or inadequate no-smoking[i] signs, while in 35 percent of venues measures to restrict smoking were not sufficient as they had, for example, ash trays.