cigarette pack Where you can smoke in Greece. cigarette pack

Haven't been to Greece for many years, though I loved it and the slightly anarchistic attitude of some individuals. Even enjoyed the creative surcharges some taxi drivers came up with - and the way they so considerately turned off their meters when I entered the cab. Wasn't brutally expensive because those were the Drachma days when it was an independent nation. Proud people, delightful music, superb food, accomplished tax evaders and a history that helped shape Europe.

I suppose the rot started when they won the right to host the 2004 Olympics. Everything seemed to be so late and so over budget. Now many venues, including the stadium, lie forlorn and neglected (1). 15 billion Dollars borrowed, though no one can be absolutely certain. Then things went from bad to nightmare.

Greece introduced a blanket smoking ban on 1 September 2010, bang in the middle of a recession of Zimbabwean proportions and, when it wasn't complied with immediately, George Papandreou promised 200 additional personnel would be employed to enforce it rigidly. George resigned as Prime Minister within a few months of that ill-considered announcement. Now his party - PASOK - has seen its share of the vote collapse. Very clever guy our George, but none too smart.

My lists of places where you can smoke only include those that comply with local legislation (2). They're there because I visit, or I'm curious about them. Years ago I learned that including places that weren't strictly legit made life difficult for the proprietor and far too easy for tobacco control to report and/or shut down.

The official version is Greece has a blanket ban and it's expensive for the proprietor as well as yourself if you get caught. They make a very big issue of compliance in some of the touristy parts of Athens, yet I had my suspicions that the situation may be rather different on the ground.

Fortunately "Nisakiman" lives there and took the time to contact me, so best let him take over:

Despite a complete ban as per UK, you can smoke in most bars and restaurants. The Greeks are not only enthusiastic smokers; they also categorically reject any law that they see as emanating from bureaucratic urges to curtail their freedom of choice. So although smoking is banned in all bars, you will struggle to find a bar that doesn't have ashtrays available, if not deployed, in every area inside and out.

They are the same about the laws concerning the wearing of seatbelts and crash helmets. I'm not talking about unconventional, rebellious types here, I'm talking about your average middle-class office-working Costas, his wife, his mum and dad, uncle Tom Cobley and all. If they don't want to wear a helmet when out and about on the scooter, they don't. And the police attitude is pretty slapdash too. Sometimes a car or two will be tasked with sitting in a lay-by specifically to pull over and fine non belt / helmet wearers. (A revenue raising exercise, I suspect.) However, if you pull up alongside that same police car at the lights the next day, helmetless, they will totally ignore you. I know because it's happened to me many times. (Not the "being pulled over and fined bit", the being ignored when not wearing a helmet!).

Seems nothing much has changed..... thankfully. And that's why there's no need of a list of smoking bars, pubs, restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, discos, or coffee shops in Greece.

Smoking Scot
October 2012