New Legislation on smoking control in Greece

September 25, 2020

The “New Legislation on smoking control in Greece” was the subject of Mr. Ioannis Faropoulos’ talk, as Scientific Advisor to the General Secretariat for Public Health of the Greek Ministry of Health.

The integrated National Action Plan for the control of tobacco of 2019, Mr. Faropoulos explained, contains 4 pillars of actions: Prevention of smoking–less engagement in any kind of smoking and vaping; Protection of the population from passive smoking–implementation of the antismoking law; Smoking Cessation–Assistance to Quit Smoking in Specialized Smoking Cessation Centers; and Assessment of Novel Tobacco Products–Harm Reduction Principle.

Traditionally, Control Action Plans usually were based on the first 3 pillars, Mr. Faropoulos said, but obviously these were not enough, considering that, according to WHO, today there are about 1 billion smokers worldwide and this number is expected to remain intact for the next 10 years, despite all health measures and tax-related initiatives taken by the global community and States.

The introduction of a harm reduction approach in the National Plan is based on Public Health obligation to provide any possible protection to all citizens, including smokers, Mr. Faropoulos said.

Of course, this decision does not favor smoking, he added, but it recognizes the State’s obligation to assess whether there are indeed better smoking choices than the traditional harmful cigarette.

In Greece, the harm reduction in smoking was legislated by the Law 4715/2020. By this Law, the Greek State recognizes the right of smokers to have accurate information on and access to better choices, and welcomes efforts being made with the help of technology to produce potential better products, Mr. Faropoulos said.