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Greece: Restaurants defy smoking ban, bring back ashtrays

19. October 2010. | 12:28

Source: ANA

Ashtrays were "reinstated" in restaurants and other related establishments on Monday, following a sector decision to defy the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces.

Ashtrays were "reinstated" in restaurants and other related establishments on Monday, following a sector decision to defy the ban on smoking in enclosed spaces.

A Federation of Restaurant and Related Professions board took the decision during a general assembly of the sector, citing serious financial impact of the smoking ban on the Federation's member establishments.

The Federation, as well as the General Confederation of Light Industry and Commerce of Greece (GSEBEE), have called for a transition period for the implementation of the legislation.

The two federations stress in announcements that they are not contesting the substance of the law, but consider a transition period to be of urgent necessity, as the viability of dining and recreation establishments is threatened given the economic crisis, which has already had negative repercussions for the branch.

According to figures unveiled by the two federations, dining establishments have suffered a 30 percent slump in turnover in recent months.

Meanwhile, Health deputy minister Michalis Timosidis stressed that the smoking ban law will be applied.

"The law, which has been passed by parliament, changes perceptions and attitudes. It must be applied for the public health, the public good, for our children," Timosidis said.

He added that the ministry is stepping up its effort through informational campaigns, while a meeting is pending with GSEBEE to discus ways to reinforce those who are hard hit by the law, "but not the implementation of the law itself".

Health Minister Andreas Loverdos was also adamant that the law must be applied in statements to 'Skai' radio on Monday, saying it was not right and smacked of the third world if a law was changed before it had a chance to be implemented or show its weaknesses in practice.

He also noted that municipalities had been reluctant to carry out inspections due to the local government elections that are around the corner and that a first assessment of the results of the new ban will be made in December.


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18. October - 24. October 2010.