ATHENS, May 7 — More than 15,000 Greeks die every year of smoking-related causes, while they spend between 25 and 30 million euros (28-33.6 million U.S. dollars) annually to purchase cigarettes, according to a study presented by the Hellenic Pulmonary Society, Greek “Kathimerini” (Daily) newspaper reported on Tuesday.
The shocking numbers were presented in Trikala, a city in Greece which is the first smoke-free city of the country, ahead of the World No Tobacco Day, which is observed every year on May 31.
The study also revealed that 37 percent of Greek adults smoke, and Greek women remain the world’s leading smokers, continuing the harmful habit even during pregnancy. 36 percent of women admitted smoking at the beginning of their pregnancy, and only 19 percent managed to quit the addiction. Most of them start up again after giving birth and breastfeeding.
Overall 37.7 percent of Greek women aged 18-34 are smokers, as are 51.2 percent of those aged 35 to 54.
The good news is that in recent years the number of smokers have declined in Greece, and the Stop Smoking Aid Clinics that operate in almost all cities of the country have the highest success rates in Europe, because of their specialized staff, scientists of the Hellenic Pulmonary Society noted.
The experts said that emphasis should be placed on trying to deter people smoking by increasing cigarette prices, banning smoking in public places and bringing more awareness to smoke-related diseases.
Trikala offers a bright example in this direction. A serious effort to implement anti-smoking law in the city began in 2017 with the implementation of an important initiative to inform citizens of anti-smoking law and its implementation, Dimitris Papastergiou, mayor of Trikala told Greek national news agency AMNA.
More than 1,200 checks took place and 50 to 60 fines were imposed in the last 20 months in the city, he said. (1 euro = 1.12 U.S. dollars) – XINHUA