Smoking is one of the biggest killers in the world. Greece, an EU country, seems to think that statistics do not matter: as a rogue player in this area, it has blatant disregard for public health. The EU for it’s part, has shown zero interest in helping Greek children who suffer from the terrible abuse of public smoking.
In winter time, the severity of the problem becomes more evident. A visit to the largest indoor bowling center on Leof. Andrea Siggrou – and you witness young children suffering at the hands of ruthless smokers: where staff and patrons ignore the non-smoking signs. Go to a coffee shop, whether in Athens or Corfu – and see how a 5-year old child sits around the table, coughing, as both his parents smoke in front of him with the windows closed. Visit a furniture shop in Athens – and again, the owner and staff smoke as if the law does not exist.
Most people who say “Enough of this” – let’s move on from this 3rd world mentality of collective punishment will hit a brick wall, starting with sympathizers – all the way through to business owners and government. Many will claim that they need to actually smoke to de-stress from economic hardship - as if a crippled economy needs more cancer patients. The photo below actually shows how the health minister fired up a cigarette inside the Ministry of Health headquarters in what seems to be a press conference.
Classic blame shift culture and ducking responsibility:
Greek business owners will put up a non-smoking sign, yet they allow people to completely disregard it. When asked, most business owners will say: “It is for the government to enforce it, not for us”. If in fact you consider the US, UK and Australia – the policy at any facility is for staff and management to work together to quickly address non-compliance. It does make you think: How can people expect to recover from economic recession, if the most basic of laws are not enforced – and if this outdated mindset is allowed to prevail. The irony is that Greece is one of the countries in the world where parents
An EU of common values:
However much the European Union likes to tout “common values” and “progress”, the fact is that it has failed young Greeks. Like young Dimitris said at the bowling club: “The European Union is only interested to act as a loan provider to Greeks. It does nothing to improve our health. If only it could help young Greeks who are trapped in this situation, at least our health can improve”. How does this reflect common values of human dignity, respect for human rights and most of all, the rule of law? In reality, the EU already required members . Today, in 2018, it is clear that if members pay their taxes and membership fees, a blind eye can be turned to the most critical issues that concern citizens, such as health.
Vaping in the US and Europe:
Human rights and various applicable health laws are there to protect non-smokers. In reality, vaping is one of the latest trends that has made life easier for non-smokers. This is because most smokers will still behave in a way that they see fit when at home or in their car. The number of online shops around the world are steadily increasing – as is the number of physical stores selling vape.
Ultimately, smoking is a personal choice. It is not a “culture” or activity where smokers have the right to collectively punish non-smokers by exposing them to passive smoke. Any country where this is not the norm, where the rule of law is disregarded, have serious societal issues to fix. Children are the most vulnerable in society: passive smoking around kids is considered an act of cruelty and a slow killer. Any country touting “family values” should ask: Do we love our children enough to do what is right for them?