Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smoking restrictions- finally.

One thing that I still find hard to adjust to while living in Greece is that people are typically allowed to smoke wherever they want. It seems that bar/restaurant and other business owners have been reluctant to ban smoking for fear of losing business. In fact, while patronizing a local pethotopo (cafe/play center), I noticed that there were "no smoking" signs present, but yet, customers were smoking as if they were entitled to the right... never mind that the signs were posted in a business which is centered around children playing. So, I asked the owner why she didn't enforce the nonsmoking policy that she had posted and she simply said, "because no one would come here if they couldn't smoke." I know plenty of people that would actually prefer a nonsmoking policy, those that don't want expose their children or themselves to the harmful effects of second hand smoke if it can be avoided. Currently, it's nearly impossible to avoid second hand smoke if you want to go anywhere.

It seems that there's a glimmer of hope because starting July 1, 2009 severe restrictions for smoking in closed public places will be imposed. Read this article for more details.


  1. A lot of people hate that, but I for one know its for the best! Definitely.
    I'm glad there will be more restrictions.

  2. Hey you! What are you doing up so late?
    I know a lot of people will hate it. What I can't wait to see is if it will actually be enforced...

  3. i really doubt that the restrictions will be enforced. at least in crete, i cannot imagine that anyone will actually bother to ask someone to refrain from smoking, because it is so much a part of the culture to smoke in that egotistical manner that the businesses involved will worry about loss of customers. i imagine that there may be separate smoking and non-smoking areas, but again, enforcement??? there won;t be any. who is going to chase around checking that no one is smoking anywhere?!

    maybe once people begin to obey the law in the public service sector offices, then the idea might catch on. but it's not only the staff at the offices who smoke - it's all those filthy users of those offices that also smoke, and we're talking about greek people of course, not foreigners (i more often see greeks smoking in these places rather than albanians, etc)

    sorry for the rant, but there isnt a day that goes past when i dont see at lest ten people driving and using mobile phones at the same time on the roads of hania (see what i mean about enforcement????)

  4. I think you will have a basic problem in Crete owing to the culture of 'getting away with it' that prevails. Cretans have no respect for people who follow the law simply because it is the law. They are much more impressed if one can circumvent or flout the law.

    Even here in France, a no-smoking statute passed last summer. Our local bar went non-smoking for about 18 hours, then people smoked if it was just a few of them there, now it's just like it was before the law. Everyone smokes in that bar.

    I hope you can find some relief, but I think it will take more than a statute to change things.

  5. The thing Cheryl that there is only ONE thing that you still find hard to adjust to while living in Greece, is making you a real HERO!!!

  6. Maria, I agree with you & everything that you've said. What irritates me the most is when staff at health centers are smoking indoors, it's sheer ignorance.

    Hi Syd!
    I agree with you as well. Things aren't much different on the mainland. Things have begun to change, however. For example-last Sunday we were at an event dining alfresco and the woman sitting across from me actually asked if her having a cigarette would bother anyone...outdoors. I appreciated her mindfulness and nearly fell backwards...haha!

    I think that it's difficult to completely omit smoking from bars anywhere, even if it has been done, it's nearly impossible. Even as a nonsmoker, I think that bars & cigarettes are a pair. :)

    Phivos, maybe I should rewrite that first sentence. It's one of many things that I find difficult and frustrating to deal with. :)
    I'm not a hero...I'm insane! Thanks for the compliment...

  7. How is smoking in a public place different than getting behind the wheel of a car drunk? It is not different in my opinion, you are playing God, 'oh I can smoke and blow it around you and your kids so they can breath it in and increase their risk of developing cancer!!! you can't infringe on MY rights..' selfish, especially for people who live in a society... I really hope they include a huge fine with the law.

  8. Bel, take a deep breath:) That was a good rant!
    I think that you've brought up very valid points and it makes sense to thinking people, but we aren't all equipped the same.
    Here, people will avoid artificial food coloring before they would a cigarette. It's up to us as parents to keep our children away from second hand smoke which means that we don't go out too much in the winter.
    Again, the restrictions have to be enforced before a fine can be imposed. Enforcing anything here is the Maria and Syd pointed out. Society scoffs at authority...
    it's unfortunate but true.

  9. Cheryl, Sorry I ranted, I just think it is so rude, but I spoke to my husband (about the new law and people ignoring it) and he said the same as you, that if they don't enforce it, we just make the choice to not visit the business. I am taking several deep breaths, thanks :)

  10. I had a 30 something Greek man tell me that I was going to give my kids cancer for feeding them store bought yogurt. He said this as he was blowing smoke rings around them. I told him that I felt the second hand smoke he was exposing them to would give them cancer faster, and he looked at me like I was from Mars. He replied, "What is second hand smoke?"!!!!!!!! I thought he was joking, but it turns out he had never heard of it, and after I explained it to him..he proceeded to tell me how it was a B.S. government conspiracy... I swear to God...not making this up..that's what he said. It was at that point in my Greek journey that I realized...I'm not in "Kansas" anymore...LOL

  11. Bel, never apologize for a good rant. Never.
    You'll find the right balance when you get here, although it may take a while. And the good news , as may have mentioned, is that more people here are nonsmokers these days.

    Christie, everything is a conspiracy...didn't you know?

  12. Two things that struck me. 1. A girl in a fashion boutique waiting for customers and puffing away. Don't they realise what this does to the smell of the clothes they're selling? 2. A GP surgery in our first village. We entered and found both the doctor and the nurse puffing away. Hello? Oh a third but not as bad: our first dentist there would disappear to an anteroom and come back smelling 'funky'. ;) All the best.

  13. Rick, sorry I didn't respond sooner!
    I know, I hate, hate, hate going to little shops if someone is smoking in it...especially children's shops. It's so ignorant.
    Also, I know...there are a lot of folks in the medical field that act surprised to hear that there's such a thing as second hand smoke, I know from experience. I was talking with an acquaintance that happens to be a doctor and I told him how awful I feel when I am in a room full of smoke. My nose closes up, my throat and chest get sore. His response, "I've never heard of that". Yeah, ok. Sure. :)
    Wait until I start talking to people about the third hand smoke phenomenon that's surfaced! That would be coming directly off of the clothes that you could by in the lovely, smokey boutique.