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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Big gamble.

The march of the know-what's-good-for-you zealots continues.
A ban on lighting up in enclosed public areas comes into force in Greece today as part of an effort to curb the country's high smoking rates.

Offenders will be fined up to €10,000 (£8,260), and tobacco advertising will also be prohibited under the measures.

Some 42% of Greeks over the age of 15 smoke, well above the European average of 29%. The campaign will include an advertising blitz and the distribution of anti-smoking board games to children.
Well, sooner or later it had to happen because of this.
The Greek health ministry said the measures were needed after partial smoking bans over the last eight years were generally ignored.
Good for the Greeks, though this failure to obey the diktats of their betters was only going to lead to one conclusion.
From today, offices and businesses will ban smoking and close popular smoking rooms. Those caught violating the new law will be fined between €50 and €500 and have their names recorded in an offenders' database. Businesses will be fined between €500 and €10,000.
What? A tobacco offender's register is what that sounds like. And those fines, a bit excessive, perhaps? No, of course not, because the all-powerful and all-wise state, and its beneficent advisors of course, has been defied, which is far the bigger sin. It's not eating the apple that gets you booted out of Eden, it's not obeying the instruction to leave it alone.

But on the subject of those beneficent advisors...
Martin Dockrell...
Cunt. Sorry, carry on.
Martin Dockrell, of the anti-smoking campaign group Ash...
... said: "I would expect Greece to experience some of the greatest health benefits in Europe [from the ban] because it has such high smoking rates.
And this makes me think ASH and the rest of the Righteous are taking a huge gamble, or perhaps more a leap of faith. Because if Greece does not experience these wonderful health benefits that ASH expect the question will be what bloody good the ban is for.

So watch this space, ladies and gents. If they get a nice drop in heart attacks, cancer, back strain from particularly heavy ashtrays, whatever, you know they'll be all over it like flies on shit, and we'll know that if it goes back up the next year it was only by chance in the first place and the silence of the zealots will be deafening. Which will also be what happens if they don't get any drop. It's probably worth finding out in advance whether the trends the righteous will use are already declining.

But Martin Dockrell has more to say.
"If [smokers] can cope with sitting on a street corner in rainy London and windy Dublin, beautiful and sunny Greece shouldn't pose much of a challenge."
The thing is, Martin, to an extent they haven't coped. Irish pubs are closing fast and we all know the British trade is losing pubs at an alarming rate (or perhaps an excellent rate for the anti-alcohol zealots for whom this is a feature rather than a bug). Why do you think this is, Martin? Would it help if I told you that people don't actually want to smoke outside in rainy London or windy Dublin, so they go home via the bottle shop and drink at home or at friends' homes. Leg-iron style smoky-drinky places will have been the choice of many. Drink, chat, laugh, even - oh, the humanity - even eat in the same room as some tobacco has been smoked. And all this is precisely because people don't want to deal with corners in rainy London or windy Dublin, and they realise they don't bloody have to. If nothing else it's easier to light up inside.

However, the Greeks have gone even further. It's the birthplace of democracy so I suppose this approach is appropriate.
Nikos Louvros, who owns a bar in central Athens ... was so angered by a previous attempt to impose a ban last year that he formed his own pro-smoking political party that received 1,500 votes in the 2009 national election. He plans to run again in local elections in November. "Maybe we'll win the race for mayor of Athens," he said. "Then, we'll see what happens."
With 42% of adults smoking maybe they will, though I'd hope that there's also times for the predictions of ASH to fall on their arse as well.


Bucko said...

My dreams of emigrating to Greece are becoming less and less palateable. However, if anyone can defy a smoking ban It'll be the Greeks.

Angry Exile said...

Yeah. Shame their country is fucking boracic, really.

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