In Greece, the rate of nicotine consumption -- smokers, in other words -- has plummeted. Addiction, like misery, loves company, and I am not exempt!
In [Greek] hospitals nationwide doctors think nothing of lighting up, in parliament MPs unabashedly puff away while police stations, invariably, are manned by officers with cigarette in hand. An attempt to ban smoking in enclosed public spaces has been merrily flouted from the day it was announced at the start of Greece’s economic crisis in late 2009. Such was the innate anti-authoritarianism of their customers, bar and restaurant owners declared they were simply putting ashtrays back on tables.Sometimes I do wish others would stamp out the desire to improve things. On the other hand, it is exceptions that burnish all rules.
But if role models are in short supply in a country where even the health minister is prone to light up, recent studies have also shown a dramatic shift in attitudes towards tobacco. This month, Behrakis announced, the number of smokers had dropped 9.6 percentage points over the past five years. In 2012, his last survey, 36.7% of Greeks said they were either regular or casual smokers. In 2017 the figure had fallen to 27.1%.