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Nosmoke.gr NGO files a complaint to the European Commission and to the European Council

13/10/10


The non-governmental organization Nosmoke.gr, filed a complaint on 13/12/10 to the European Commission and to the European Council in order to report the overt violation of the no smoking law and the continuous mockery of citizens by the state.

The complaint points out that “20.000 Greeks die each year from illnesses that are related to smoking, while smoking costs our healthcare system 2 billions euros per year, at a time where our country is literally fighting to avoid bankruptcy."
It reminds also that “the Greek State validated the contract of the World health Organization (WHO) for tobacco control with the 3420/2005 law. And the governing lines of  WHO for the effective implementation of the above mentioned Contract mention that there are no safe levels of smoke exposure in the environment". In other words, there is no such thing as safe second-hand smoking!

The complaint concludes:
"What we are living here in Greece is a continuous mockery by the Greek state. The Greek government, on behalf of Prime Minister Loverdos, doesn't hesitate to ridicule the Greek and European lawful class, by not implementing a law voted by the Greek Parliament; in violation of the Greek Constitution and prevention policies, and in violation of the World Health Organization's and European Union's fight against smoking.
"It should be mentioned that Nosmoke.gr had turned to the Greek regional council against the exceptions that were made to the previous smoking ban (law 3730/2008), but the matter was never discussed in the higher court according to the judge, because in the meantime a new law was in the process of coming into effect (3868/2010), which was going to ban smoking in all indoor public areas. However, a few days later, the Government announced that it will re-examine the matter, opening a new loophole for long term postponement and obstructionism in the implementation, evasion of its responsibilities and of the essential crisis of the Greek courts.

Nosmoke is comprised roughly of 25,000 members, it is staffed by exceptional professionals and has 3 offices in Athens, Salonica and Corfu and is in the process of opening offices in other areas as well in the near future.

During the past weeks, the members of the organization massively protested to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Health, "bombarding" them with emails and telephone calls and asking them to do the obvious: to simply enforce the smoking ban in all public areas, in order to protect public health!
In the meantime, the members of the organization, in the context of a Panhellenic movement, exert pressure to all responsible institutions, at a local level, in order for them to do their job in protecting the health of citizens. This pressure has started to bring about some results since in many cases authorities have started to perform inspections.

The president of Nosmoke.gr, Mr. Alexandros Fotinos argues that the smoking ban is not a policing measure. It is a measure to protect public health. Also, a current study by the health ministry has shown that the ban is supported by 80% of Greek citizens, smokers and non-smokers.

Another important piece of information is the catastrophism and misinformation as far as cost to businesses is concerned.  First of all, we shouldn't even begin to compare the cost of human life and public health with profit. We must all agree that life and health are values that need no negotiation! In any case, however, valid international studies have proven that universal bans on smoking have not affected business profits neither for restaurants nor for cafes and bars. Profit surely does not decrease.  In many cases profits increase since many people who in the past avoided going out due to the smoke, now have the chance to go out more often.  This is something that everyone needs to realize, first of all it should be realized by business owners and their unions.

It should be made clear, that Nosmoke.gr is not against people who smoke. It is simply against the habit of smoking, especially in public places, and against the manipulation of young people and their catastrophic habit, which in all guarantee is something they will regret in the future, but it will be too late.

The organization calls for a boycott to all places where the smoking ban is violated, it urges people to protest to owners who do not obey the law and to report violations by calling 1142, the municipal police and other law enforcing bodies.

"The road ahead will be tough, but reason and common sense will prevail in the end. Society's long-term interest will in the end outweigh the short-term economic interests of a few businessmen, these businessmen are very few in number but they have achieved to bring doubt as to whether or not white is black or if black is white!", Mr. Alexandros Fotinos concludes.