Greece Allows Smoking Areas in Bars, Clubs, Casinos, Lotto

A provision in the wide-ranging bill tabled by the Greek Ministry for Development will legalize smoking areas in casinos, night clubs and live music venues larger than 300m², as well as betting shops, including lottery outlets.

The only restrictions imposed are that these smoking areas must not exceed half a store’s floorspace and, moreover, owners of such stores should pay an annual fee of 200 euros per square metre.

Greece has more smokers per capita than any other country in the EU, with recent surveys indicating more than 40% of Greeks aged 15 and over smoke, considerably above the EU average of 29%, and although smoking in indoor public spaces has been banned since 2010, the law has been widely flouted, a situation only heightened by inefficiency in punishing the offenders.

Smoking in public places is so commonplace in Greece, especially in her bars and clubs, that even cash-strapped authorities have been notably tolerant, rarely levying fines that for individuals reach 500 euros, while proprietors risk penalties up to 10,000 euros and even suspension of their operating licence.

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