Greece’s newly-elected government has committed to implement a law, banning smoking in enclosed public places.

This law is of course not new; it has existed since 2008 but in over 10 years never took effect.

If Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is successful, it will see smoking banned in cafes, restaurants and clubs, hospitals, educational institutions and sporting facilities.

The New Democracy leader is not the first Greek PM to have vowed to implement the law; other governments have taken a similar stance, but did not take the necessary steps, for which Greece has been criticised by the European Commission.

The matter was raised in 2018 by EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis during a speech in Athens. He showed a picture of Syriza’s Pavlos Polakis, Greece’s then Vice-Minister for Health, smoking in a public space.

Photo: Kathimerini

“It’s a shame,” Andriukaitis said.

“It is not a matter of free will if someone smokes or not. When this happens in a public area, it is a violation of human rights.”

As part of the government’s plan, on-the-spot controls will be increased, giving citizens the option to report violations they witness by phone.